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Quemadmoiium roult.a fieri non posse, prinsquam fact& sunt, judi- 
cantur ; ita multa quoque, quie antiquitus facta, quia nos ea non 
vidimus, neque ratione assequiiaur, ex iis esse, quae fieri non 
potuerunt, judicamus. Quse cert6 summainsipientiaest. — Plin. Hisl. 
A'at. lib. vii. c. 1. 

VOL. I. 



^ufilis^er in ©rtrinarg to j^jt iHajegtg. 







^ ^c. 8fc. ^c. 

My deak Henry, 

I inscribe these Volumes with your name, 
to record a friendship which has lasted from our 
infancy, tainted by no suspicion, and darkened by 
no shadow. 

So long as eminent talents can challenge admira- 
tion, varied and extensive acquirements command 
respect, and unfeigned virtues ensure esteem and 
regard, so long will you have no common claim 
to them all ; and none will pay the tribute more 
gladly than your affectionate 

Eriend and Cousin, 

SioN College, May 1850. 

Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 witii funding from 

Indiana University 


Among the many phases presented by human 
credulity, few are more mteresting than those 
which regard the reahties of the invisible world. If 
the opinions which have been held on this subject 
were written and gathered together they would 
form hundreds of volumes — if they were arranged 
and digested they would form a few, but most 
valuable volumes. It is not merely because there is 
in almost every human error a substratum of truth, 
and that the more momentous the subject the more 
important the substratum, but because the investi- 
gation will give almost a history of human aberra- 
tions, that this otherwise unpromising topic assumes 
so high an interest. The superstitions of every 
age, (for no age is free from them,) will present the 
popular modes of thinking in an intelligible and 
easily accessible form, and may be taken as a 

VOL. I. b 


means of gauging (if the expression be permitted) 
the philosophical and metaphysical capacities of the 
period. In this light, the Volumes here presented 
to the reader will be found of great value, for they 
give a picture of the popular mind at a time of 
great interest, and furnish a clue to many diffi- 
culties in the ecclesiastical affairs of that era. 

In the time of Calmet, cases of demoniacal pos- 
session, and instances of returns from the world of 
spirits, were reputed to be of no uncommon occur- 
rence. The Church was continually called on to exert 
her powers of exorcism ; and the instances gathered 
by Calmet, and related in this Work, may be taken 
as fair specimens of the rest. It is then, first, as 
a storehouse of facts, or reputed facts, that Calmet 
compiled the Work now in the reader's hands — 
as the foundation on which to rear what super- 
structure of system he pleases; and secondly, as 
a means of giving his own opinions, in a detached 
and desultory w^ay, as the subjects came under his 
notice. The value of the first will consist in their 
evidence, — and of this the reader will be as capable 
of judging as the compiler ; that of the second will 
depend on their truth, — and of this, too, we are as 
well, and in some respects better, able to judge 
than Calmet himself. 

Those accustomed to require rigid evidence will 
be but ill satisfied with the greater part of that 


which will be found in this Work ; simple assertion 
for the most part suffices — frequently made long 
after the facts, or supposed facts, related, and not 
seldom at a distance from the places where they were 
alleged to have taken place. But these cases are 
often the best authenticated, for in the more modern 
instances there is frequently such an evident mis- 
take in the whole nature of the case, that all the 
spiritual deductions made from it fall to the ground. 
Not a few cases of so-called demoniacal posses- 
sion are capable of being resolved into cataleptic 
trance, a state very similar to that produced by 
mesmerism, and in which many of the same phe- 
nomena seem naturally to display themselves ; the 
well-known instance of the young servant girl, 
related by Coleridge, who, though ignorant and 
uneducated, could during her sleep-walking dis- 
course learnedly in rabbinical Hebrew, would fur- 
nish a case in point. The circumstance of her old 
master having been in the habit of walking about 
the house at night, reading from rabbinical books 
aloud and in a declamatory manner ; the impression 
made by the strange sounds upon her youthful 
imagination ; their accurate retention by a memory, 
which, however, could only reproduce them when in 
an abnormal condition, — all teach us many most in- 
teresting psychological facts, which, had this young 
girl fallen into other hands, would have been useless 

h 2 


in a philosophical point of view, and would have 
been only used to establish the doctrine of diabo- 
lical possession and ecclesiastical exorcism. We 
should have been told how skilled was the fallen 
angel in rabbinical traditions, and how wholesome 
a terror he entertained of the Jesuits, the Capu- 
chins, or the Fratres Minimi, as the case might be. 
Not a few of the most remarkable cases of sup- 
posed modern possession are to be accounted for 
by involuntary or natural mesmerism. Indeed the 
same view seems to be taken by a popular minister 
of the Church in our own day, viz. that mesmerism 
and diabolical possession are identical. Our dif- 
ference with him is, that we should consider the 
cases called by the two names as all natural, and he 
would consider them as all supernatural. And here, 
to avoid misconception, or rather misrepresentation, 
let me at once observe, that I speak thus of modern 
and recorded cases only, accepting literally all related 
in the New Testament, and not presuming to say 
that similar cases might not occur now. Calmet, 
however, may be supposed to have collected all the 
most remarkable of modern times, and I am com- 
pelled to say I believe not one of them. But when 
we pass from the evidence of truth, in which they 
are so wanting, to the evidence of fraud and collu- 
sion by which so many are characterised, we shall 
wonder less at the general spread of infidelity in 


times somewhat later, on all subjects not suscep- 
tible of ocular demonstration. Where a system 
claimed to be received as a whole, or not at all, 
it is hardly to be wondered at, that when some 
portion was manifestly wrong, its own requirements 
should be complied with, and the whole rejected. 

The system which required an implicit belief in 
such absurdities as those related in these volumes, 
and placed them on a level with the most awful 
verities of religion, might indeed make some inte- 
rested use of them in an age of comparative dark- 
ness, but certainly contained within itself the seeds 
of destruction, and which could not fail to germi- 
nate as soon as light fell upon them. 

The state of Calmet's own mind, as revealed in this 
book, is curious and interesting. The belief of the 
intellect in much which he relates is evidently gone, 
the belief of the will but partially remains. There is 
a painful sense of uncertainty as to whether certain 
things ou(^ht not to be received more fully than he 
felt himself able to receive them; and he gladly 
follows in many cases the example of Herodotus 
of old, merely relating stories without comment, 
save by stating that they had not fallen under his 
own observation. 

The time, indeed, had hardly come to assert free- 
dom of belief on subjects such as these. Theology 
embraced philosophy, and the Holy Inquisition 


defended the orthodoxy of both ; and if the investi- 
gators of Calmet's day were permitted to hold, with 
some hmitations, the Copernican theory, it was 
far otherwise with regard to the world of spuits, 
and its connexion with our own. The rotundity of 
the earth affected neither shrines nor exorcisms ; 
metaphysical truth might do both one and the 
other ; and the cry of " Great is Diana of the Ephe- 
sians!" was not raised in the capital of Asia Minor, 
till the " craft by which we get our wealth" was 
proved to be in danger. 

Reflections such as these are painfully forced on 
us by the evident fraud exhibited by many of the 
actors in the scenes of exorcism narrated by Calmet, 
the vile purposes to which the services of the 
Church were turned, and the recklessness with 
which the supposed or pretended evil, and equally 
pretended remedy, were used for political intrigue 
or state oppression. 

Independent of these conclusions, there is some- 
thing lamentable in a state of the public mind, 
which was so little prone to examination as to 
receive such a mass of superstition without sifting 
the wheat, for such there undoubtedly is, from the 
chaff. Calmet's Work contains enough, had we the 
minor circumstances in each case preserved, to set 
at rest many philosophic doubts, and* to illustrate 
many physical facts ; and to those who desire to 


know what was believed by our Christian fore- 
fathers, and why it was beheved, the narrative is 
absolutely invaluable. Calmet was a man of natu- 
rally cool, calm judgment, pious and truthful, and 
possessed of singular learning. A short sketch 
of his life will not, perhaps, be unacceptable to the 

Augustine Calmet was born in the year 1672, 
at a village near Commerci, in Lorraine. He early 
gave proofs of aptitude for study, and an oppor- 
tunity was speedily offered of devoting himself to a 
life of learning. In his sixteenth year he became 
a Benedictine of the Congregation of St. Vannes, 
and prosecuted his theological and such philosophi- 
cal studies as the time allowed with great success. 
He was speedily appointed to teach the younger 
portion of the community, and gave in this employ- 
ment such decided satisfaction to his superiors, that 
he was soon marked for preferment. His chief 
study was the Scriptures ; and in the twenty-second 
year of his age, a period unusually early at a time 
when all benefices and beneficial employments were 
matters of sale, he was appointed to be sub -prior of 
the monastery of Munster, in Alsace, where he pre- 
sided over an academy. This academy consisted 
of ten or twelve monks, and its object was the 
investigation of Scripture. Calmet was not idle in 
his new position. Besides communicating so much 


valuable information as to make his pupils the best 
biblical scholars of the country, he made extensive 
collections for his Commentary on the Old and New 
Testaments, and for his still more celebrated work, 
the History of the Bible. These materials he sub- 
sequently digested and arranged. The Commen- 
tary, a work of immense value, was published in 
separate volumes from 1707 to 1716. His labours 
attracted renewed and increased attention, and the 
offer of a bishopric was made to him, which he 
unhesitatingly declined. 

In 1718, he was elected to the abbacy of 
St. Leopold, in Nancy ; and ten years afterwards, 
to that of Senones, where he spent the remainder 
of his days. His writings are numerous : two have 
been already mentioned; and so great was the 
popularity of his Commentaries, that they were 
translated into no fewer than six languages Vvdthin 
ten years. They exhibit a favourable aspect of the 
author's mind, and give a very high idea of his 
erudition. One cause which tended greatly to the 
universal acceptability of this Work, was its sin- 
gular freedom from sectarian bitterness. Pro- 
testants as well as Romanists may use it with 
equal satisfaction ; and accordingly, it is considered 
a work of standard authority in England as much 
as on the Continent. 

In addition to these Commentaries, and his 


History of the Bible, and Eragments, (the best 
edition of which latter work in English is by 
Isaac Taylor,) he wrote the "Ecclesiastical and 
Civil History of Lorraine \' "A Catalogue of the 
Writers of Lorraine ;" " Universal History, Sacred 
and Profane ;" a small collection of Reveries ; and 
a work entitled, " A Literal, Moral, and Historical 
Commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict," a work 
which is full of curious information on ancient 
customs, particularly ecclesiastical. He is among 
the few, also, w^ho have written on ancient music. 
He lived to a good old age ; and died regretted 
and much respected in 1757. 

Of all his Works, that now presented to the 
reader is perhaps the most popular ; it went 
rapidly through many editions, and received from 
the author's hand continual corrections and addi- 
tions. To say that it is characterised by uniform 
judgment, would be to give it a praise somewhat 
different as well as somewhat greater than that 
which it merits. It is a vast repertory of legends, 
more or less probable ; some of which have very 
little foundation, — and some which Calmet him- 
self would have done well to omit, though now, as 
a picture of the belief entertained in that day, they 
greatly add to the value of the book. Eor the 
same reasons which have caused the retention of 
these passages, no alterations have been made in 

b 3 


the citations from Scripture, which being trans- 
lations from the Vulgate, necessarily differ in 
phraseology from the version in use among our- 
selves. The apocryphal books too are quoted, and 
the story of Bel and the Dragon referred to as a 
part of the prophecy of Daniel ; but what is of 
consequence to observe, is, that doctrines are 
founded on these translations, and on those very 
points in which they differ from our own. 

If the history of Popery, and especially that form 
and development of it exhibited in the monastic 
orders, be ever written, this Work will be of the 
greatest importance : — it will show the means by 
which dominion was obtained over the minds of 
the ignorant ; how the most sacred mysteries were 
perverted ; and frauds, which can hardly be termed 
pious, used to support institutions which can 
scarcely be called religious. That the spirits of 
the dead should be permitted to return to earth, 
under circumstances the most grotesque, to support 
the doctrines of masses for the dead, piirgatory 
and propitiatory penance ; that demons should be 
exorcised to give testimony to the merits of rival 
orders of monks and friars; that relics, many of 
them supposititious, and many of the most disgust- 
ing and blasphemous character, should have power 
to affect the eternal state of the departed; and 
that all, saints, angels, demons, and the ghosts of 


the departed, should support, with great variations 
indeed, the corrupt dealings of a corrupt priest- 
hood, — form a creed worthy of the darkest and 
most unworthy days of heathenism. 

There is, however, one excuse, or rather pallia- 
tion, for the superstition of that time. In periods of 
great public depravity — and few epochs have been 
more depraved than that in which Calmet lived — 
Satan has great power. With a ruler like the 
Regent Duke of Orleans, with a Church governor 
like Cardinal Dubois, it would appear that the civil 
and ecclesiastical authority of France had sold itself, 
like Ahab of old, to work wickedness ; or, as the 
Apostle says, " to work all uncleanness with greedi- 
ness." In an age so characterised, it does not seem 
at all improbable that portentous events should 
from time to time occur ; that the servants of the 
devil should be strengthened together with their 
master ; that many should be given over to strong 
delusions and to believe a lie; and that the evil 
part of the invisible world should be permitted to 
ally itself more closely with the men of an age so 
congenial. Real cases of demoniacal possession 
might, perhaps, be met with, and though scarcely 
amenable to the exorcisms of a clergy so corrupt as 
that of France in that day, they would yet justify 
a belief in the reality of those cases got up for the 
sake of filthy lucre, personal ambition, or private 


revenge. If the public mind was prepared for 
a belief in such cases, there were not wanting men 
to tarn it to profitable account ; and the quiet 
student, who believed the efficacy of the means 
used, and was scarcely aware of the wickedness of 
the age in which he lived, might easily be induced 
to credit the tales told him of demons expelled by 
the power of a Church, to which in the beginning 
an authority to do so had undoubtedly been given, 
and whose awful corruptions were to him at least 
greatly veiled. 

Calmet was a man of great integrity and consi- 
derable acumen : he passed an innocent and ex- 
emplary life in studious seclusion, mixing of course 
little with the world at large, resided remote " from 
courts, and camps, and strife of war or peace ;" and 
there appears occasionally in his writings a kind of 
nervous apprehension lest the dogmas of the Church 
to which he was pledged should be less capable 
than he could wish of satisfactory investigation. 
When he meets with tales like those of the vam- 
pires or vroucolacas, which concern only what he 
considered an heretical Church, and with which, 
therefore, he might deal according to his owm w^ill — 
apply to them the ordinary rules of evidence, and 
treat them as mundane affairs — there he is clear- 
sighted, critical and acute; and accordingly he 
discusses the matter philosophically and logically. 


and concludes, without fear of sinning against the 
Church, that the whole is delusion. When, on the 
other hand, he has to deal with cases of demoniacal 
possession, in countries under the rule of the 
Roman hierarchy, he contents himself with the 
decisions of the scholastic divines and the opinions 
of the fathers, and makes frequent references to the 
decrees of various provincial parliaments. The 
effects of such a state of mind upon scientific and 
especially metaphysical investigation, may be easily 
imagined, and are to be traced more or less 
distinctly in every page of the Work before us. 

Books like this — the " Disquisitiones Magicae" 
of Delrio, the " Demonomania " of Bodin, the 
" Malleus Maleficarum " of Sprengel, and the 
like, are at no time to be regarded merely as 
subjects of amusement : they have their philoso- 
phical value ; they have a still greater historical 
value ; and they show how far even upright minds 
in ay be warped by imperfect education, and slavish 
deference to authority. 

The edition here followed is that of 1751, which 
contains the latest corrections of the author, and 
several additional pieces, which are all included in 
the present Volumes. 

SioN College, London Wall, 
May 1850. 





Preface xxiii 


I. The Appearance of Good Angels proved by the Books of 

the Old Testament 3 

II. The Appearance of Good Angels proved by the Books of 

the New Testament 6 

III. Under what form have Good Angels appeared 1 . ... 11 
IV. Opinions of the Jews, Christians, Mahometans, and 
Oriental Nations, concerning the Apparitions of Good 

Angels 17 

V. Opinion of the Greeks and Romans on the Apparitions of 

Good Genii 22 

VI. The Apparition of Bad Angels proved by the Holy 

Scriptures— Under what Form they have appeared . . 29 

VII. Of Magic 41 

VIII. Objections to the Reality of Magic 48 

IX. Reply to the Objections 61 

X. Examination of the Affair of Hocque, Magician .... 58 

XL Magic of the Eg}'ptians and Chaldeans 64 

XII. Magic among the Greeks and Romans 70 

XIII. Examples which prove the Reality of Magic 75 

XIV. Effects of Magic according to the Poets 86 



XY. Of the Pagan Oracles 90 

XVI. The Certainty of the Event predicted, not always a 

proof that the Prediction conies from God .... 95 
XVII. Reasons which lead us to believe that the greater part 
of the Ancient Oracles were only Impositions of the 
Priests and Priestesses, who feigned that they were 

inspired by God 101 

XVIII. Of Sorcerers and Sorceresses, or AVitches 108 

XIX. Instances of Sorcerers and "Witches being, as they said, 

transported to the Sabbath 117 

XX. Story of Louis Gaufredi and Magdalen de la Palud, 

owned by themselves to be a Sorcerer and Sorceress . 124 
XXI. Reasons which prove the Possibility of Sorcerers and 

Witches being transported to the Sabbath . . . .132 
XXII. Continuation of the same Subject . ' 142 

XXIII. Obsession and Possession of the Devil 147 

XXIV. The Truth and Reality of Possession and Obsession by 

the Devil proved from Scripture 153 

XXV. Examples of Real Possessions caused by the Devil . .156 

XXVI. Continuation of the same Subject 163 

XXVII. Objections against the Obsessions and Possessions of 

the Demon — Reply to the Objections 173 

XXVIII. Continuation of Objections against Possessions^ and 

some Replies to those Objections 181 

XXIX. Of Familiar Spirits 191 

XXX. Some other Examples of Elves 200 

XXXI. Spirits that keep watch over Treasure 212 

XXXII. Other instances of Hidden Treasures, which were 

guarded by Good or Bad Spirits 220 

XXXIII. Spectres which appear, and predict things unknown 

and to come 225 

XXXIV. Other Apparitions of Spectres 230 

XXXV. Examination of the Apparition of a pretended Spectre 237 

XXXVI, Of Spectres which haunt Houses 241 



XXXYIL Other Instances of Spectres which haunt certain 

Houses 249 

XXXYIII. Prodigious effects of Imagination in those Men or 
Women who believe they hold Intercourse with the 

Demon 254 

XXXIX. Eeturn and Apparitions of Souls after the Death of the 

Body, proved from Scripture 261 

XL. Apparitions of Spirits proved from History .... 268 

XLI. More Instances of Apparitions 278 

XLII. On the Apparitions of Spirits who imprint their 

Hands on Clothes or on Wood 286 

XLIII. Opinions of the Jews, Greeks, and Latins, concerning 

the Dead who are left unburied 296 

XLIV. Examination of what is required or revealed to the 

Living by the Dead who return to Earth .... 306 
XLV. Apparitions of Men still alive, to other living Men, 

absent, and very distant from each other .... 313 

XLVI. Arguments concerning Apparitions 334 

XLVII. Objections against Apparitions, and Keplies to those 

Objections 343 

XLVIII. Some other Objections and Replies 349 

XLIX. The Secrets of Physics and Chemistry taken for super- 
natural things 358 

L. Conclusion of the Treatise on Apparitions 364 

LI. Way of explaining Apparitions 371 

LII. The difficulty of explaining the manner" in which 
Apparitions make their appearance, whatever system 
may be proposed on the subject 374 


The great number of authors who have written upon 
the apparitions of angels, demons, and disembodied 
souls is not unknown to me; and I do not presume 
sufficiently on my own capacity to believe that I shall 
succeed better in it than they have done, and that 
I shall transcend their knowledge and their discoveries. 
I am perfectly sensible that I expose myself to criti- 
cism, and perhaps to the mockery of many readers, who 
reo-ard this matter as done with, and settled in the 
minds of philosophers, learned men, and many theo- 
logians. I must not reckon either on the approbation 
of the people, whose want of discernment prevents their 
being competent judges of this same. My aim is not 
to foment superstition, nor to feed the vain curiosity of 
visionaries, and those who believe without examination 
everything that is related to them as soon as they find 
therein anything marvellous and supernaturaL I write 
only for reasonable and unprejudiced minds, which 
examine things ' seriously and coolly; I speak but for 
those who assent even to known truth only after mature 
reflection, who know how to doubt of what is uncer- 
tain, to suspend their judgment on what is doubtful, 
and to deny what is manifestly false. 

As for pretended freethinkers, who reject everything 
in order to distinguish themselves, and to place them- 
selves above' the common herd, I leave them in then* 
elevated sphere ; they will think of this work as they 


may consider proper, and as it is not calculated for 
them, will not probably take the trouble to read it. 

I undertook it for my own information, and to form 
to myself a just idea of all that is said on the appari- 
tions of angels, of the demon, and of disembodied 
souls. I wished to see how far that matter was certain 
or uncertain, true or false, known or unknown, clear or 

In this great number of facts which I have collected 
I have endeavoured to make a choice, and not to heap 
together too great a multitude of them, for fear that 
in the too numerous examples the doubtful might 
harm the certain, and in wishing to prove too much 
I might prove absolutely nothing. There will, even 
amongst those I have cited, be found some which will 
not easily be credited by many readers, and I allow 
them to regard such as not related. 

I beg those readers, nevertheless, to discern justly 
amongst these facts and instances ; after which they can 
with me form their opinion — affirm, deny, or remain in 

From the respect which every man owes to truth, 
and the veneration which a Christian and a Priest owes 
to religion, it appeared to me very important to unde- 
ceive people respecting the opinion which they have of 
apparitions, if they believe them all to be true ; or to 
instruct them and show them the truth and reality 
of a great number. If they think them all false. It 
is always shameful to be deceived ; and dangerous, 
in regard to religion, to believe on light grounds, 
to remain wilfully in doubt, or to maintain oneself 
without any reason in superstition and illusion ; it is 
already much to know how to doubt wisely, and not to 
form a decided opinion beyond what one really knows. 


I never had any idea of treating profoundly the 
matter of apparitions ; I have treated of it, as it were, 
by chance, and occasionally. My first and principal 
object was to discourse of the vampires of Hungary. 
In collecting my materials on that subject, I found 
many things concerning apparitions ; the great number 
of these embarrassed this treatise on vampires. I de- 
tached some of them, and thus have composed this 
treatise on apparitions : there still remains a large 
number of them, which I might have separated for the 
better arrangement of this treatise. Many persons here 
have taken the accessory for the principal, and have 
paid more attention to the first part than to the second, 
which was, however, the first and the principal in my 
design. For I own I have always been much struck with 
what was related of the vampires or ghosts of Hungary, 
Moravia, and Poland; of the vroucolacas of Greece ; and 
of the excommunicated, who are said not to be subject to 
decomposition after death. I thought I ought to bestow 
on it all the attention In my power; and I have deemed 
it right to treat on this subject in a particular disserta- 
tion. After having deeply studied it, and obtaining as 
much information as I was able, I found little solidity 
and certainty on the subject ; which, joined to the 
opinion of some prudent and respectable persons whom I 
consulted, had induced me to give up my design entirely, 
and to renounce labouring on a subject which is so con- 
tradictory, and embraces so much uncertainty. 

But looking at the matter in another point of view, 
I resumed my pen, decided upon undeceiving the public, 
if I found that what was said of it was absolutely false ; 
to show that what Is uttered on this subject is uncer- 
tain, and that we ought to be very reserved in pro- 
nouncing on these vampires, which have made so much 


noise in the world for a certain time, and still divide 
opinions at this day, even in the countries vrhich are the 
scene of their pretended return, and where they appear; 
or to show that what has been said and written on this 
subject is not destitute of probability, and that the 
subject of the return of vampires is worthy the atten- 
tion of the curious and the learned, and deserves to bf 
seriously studied, to have the facts related of it ex- 
amined, and the causes, circumstances, and means 
sounded deeply. 

I am then about to examine this question as a histo- 
rian, philosopher, and theologian. As a historian, I 
shall endeavour to discover the truth of the facts; as 
a philosopher, I shall examine the causes and circum- 
stances ; lastly, the knowledge or light of theology will 
cause me to deduce consequences as relating to religion. 
Thus I do not write in the hope of convincing free- 
thinkers and pyrrhonians, who will not allow the exist- 
ence of ghosts or vampires, nor even of the apparitions 
of angels, demons, and spirits; nor to intimidate those 
weak and credulous, by relating to them extraordinary 
stories of apparitions. I do not reckon either on curing 
the superstitious of their errors, nor the people of their 
prepossessions ; not even on correcting the abuses which 
arise from this unenlightened belief, nor of doing away 
all the doubts which may be formed on apparitions; 
still less do I pretend to erect myself as a judge and 
censor of the works and sentiments of others, nor to 
distinguish myself, make myself a name, or divert my- 
self, by spreading abroad dangerous doubts upon a 
subject which concerns religion, and from which they 
might make wrong deductions against the certainty of 
the Scriptures, and against the unshaken dogmas of 
our creed. I shall treat it as solidly and gravely as it 


merits; and I pray God to give me that knowledge 
which is necessary to do it successfully. 

I exhort my reader to distinguish between the facts 
related, and the manner in which they happened. The 
tact may be certain, and the way in which it occurred 
unknown. Scripture relates certain apparitions of 
ansels and disembodied souls ; these instances are indu- 
bitable and found in the revelations of the holy books ; 
but the manner in which God operated the resurrec- 
tions, or in which he permitted these apparitions to take 
place, is hidden among his secrets. It is allowable for 
us to examine them, to seek out the circumstances, and 
propound some conjectures on the manner in which 
it all came to pass ; but it would be rash to decide upon 
a matter which God has not thought proper to reveal 
to us. I say as much in proportion, concerning the 
stories related by sensible, contemporary, and judicious 
authors, who simply relate the facts without entering 
into the examination of the circumstances, of which, 
perhaps, they themselves were not well informed. 

It has already been objected to me, that I cited poets 
and authors of little credit, in support of a thing so 
grave and so disputed as the apparition of spirits : such 
authorities, they say, are more calculated to cast 
a doubt on apparitions, than to establish the truth of 

But I cite those authors as witnesses of the opinions 
of nations ; and I count it not a small thing in the 
extreme licence of opinions, which at this day predomi- 
nates in the world, amongst those even who make 
a profession of Christianity, to be able to show that the 
ancient Greeks and Romans thouo;ht that souls were 
immortal, that they subsisted after the death of the 
body, and that there was another life, , in which they 


received the reward of their good actions, or the chas- 
tisement of their crimes. 

Those sentiments which we read in the poets, are 
also repeated in the fathers of the Church, and the 
Pagan and Christian historians; but as they did not 
pretend to think them weighty, nor to approve them in 
repeating them, it must not be imputed to me either, 
that I have any intention of authorizing them. For in- 
stance, what I have related of the manes, or lares; of the 
evocation of souls after the death of the body ; of the 
avidity of these souls to suck the blood of the immolated 
animals; of the shape of the soul separated from the 
body ; of the inquietude of souls which have no rest 
until their bodies are under ground ; of those supersti- 
tious statues of wax which are devoted and consecrated 
under the name of certain persons whom the magicians 
pretended to kill by burning and stabbing their effigies ; 
of the transportation of wizards and witches through 
the air, and of their assemblies on the Sabbath ; 
all these things are related both in the works of the 
philosophers and pagan historians, as well as in the 

I know the value of one and the other, and I esteem 
them as they deserve ; but I think that in treating this 
matter, it is important to make known to our readers 
the ancient superstitions, the vulgar or common opinions, 
and the prejudices of nations, to be able to refute 
them, and bring back the figures to truths, by freeing 
them from what poesy had added for the embellishment 
of the poem, and the amusement of the reader. 

Moreover, I generally repeat this kind of thing, only 
when it is apropos of certain facts avowed by historians, 
and by other grave and rational authors; and some- 
times rather as an ornament of the discourse, or to 


enliven the matter, than to derive thence certain proofs 
and consequences necessary for the dogma, or to certify 
the facts and give weight to my recital. 

I know how little we must depend on what Lucian 
says on this subject; he only speaks of it to ridi- 
cule it. Philostratus, Jamblicus, and some others, do 
not merit more consideration ; therefore I quote them 
only to refute them, or to show how far idle and ridicu- 
lous credulity has been carried on these matters, which 
were laughed at by the most sensible among the 
heathens themselves. 

The consequences which I deduce from all these 
stories, and these poetical fictions, and the manner in 
which I speak of them in the course of this dissertation, 
sufficiently vouch that esteem, and give as true and 
certain only what is so in fact ; and that I do not wish 
to impose on my reader, by relating many things which 
I myself regard as false, or as doubtful, or even as 
fabulous. But this ought not to be prejudicial to the 
dogma of the immortality of the soul, and to that of 
another life, nor to the truth of certain apparitions 
related in Scripture, or proved elsewhere by good testi- 

The first edition of this work having been printed in 
my absence, and upon an incorrect copy, several mis- 
prints have occurred, and even expressions and phrases 
displeasing and interrupted. I have tried to remedy 
this in a second edition, and to cast light on those 
passages which they noticed as demanding explanation, 
and correcting what might offend scrupulous readers, 
and prevent the bad consequences which might be 
derived from what I had said. I have even done more 
in this third edition. I have retrenched several pas- 
sages ; others I have suppressed ; I have profited by 

VOL. I. c 


tlie advice which has been given me; and I have 
replied to the objections which have been made. 

People have complained that I took no part, and did 
not come to a decision on several difficulties which I 
propose, and that I leave my reader in uncertainty. 

I make but little defence against this reproach; I 
should require more justification if I decided without a 
perfect knowledge of causes, for one side of the question, 
at the risk of embracing an error, and of falling into a 
still greater impropriety. There is wisdom in suspend- 
ing our judgment till we have succeeded in finding the 
very truth. 

I have also been told, that certain persons have made 
a joke of some facts which I have related. If I related 
them as certain, and they aiFord just cause for plea- 
santry, let the condemnation pass ; but if I cited them 
as fabulous and false, they present no subject for 
pleasantry ; Falsiim non est de ratione facet i. 

There are certain persons who delight in jesting on 
the most serious things, and who spare nothing, either 
sacred or profane. The histories of the Old and 
New Testament, the most sacred ceremonies of our 
religion, the lives of the most respectable saints, are 
not safe from their dull, tasteless pleasantry. 

I have been reproached for having related several 
false histories, several doubtful facts, and several 
fabulous events. This is true ; but I give them for 
what they are. I have declared several times, that I 
did not vouch for their truth, that I repeated them to 
show how false and ridiculous they were, and to deprive 
them of the credit they might have with the people ; 
and if I have not gone at length into their refutation, I 
thought it right to let my reader have the pleasure of 
refuting them, supposing him to possess enough good 


sense and self-sufficiency to form his own judgment 
upon them, and feel the same contempt for such stories 
that I do myself. It is doing too much honour to cer- 
tain things to refute them seriously. 

But another objection, and a much more serious one, 
is said to be, what I say of the illusions of the demon, 
leading some persons to doubt of the truth of the 
apparitions related in Scripture, as well as of the others 
suspected of falsehood. 

I answer, that the consequences deduced from princi- 
ples are not right, except when things are equal, and 
the subjects and circumstances the same ; without which 
there can be no application of principles. The facts to 
which my reasoning applies, are related by authors of 
small authority, by ordinary or common-place historians, 
bearing no character which deserves a belief of any 
thing superhuman. I may, without attacking their 
person or their merit, advance that they may have been 
badly informed, prepossessed, and mistaken ; that the 
spirit of seduction may have been of the party ; that 
the senses, the imagination, and superstition, may have 
made them take that for truth, which was only seeming. 

But, in regard to the apparitions related in the Holy 
Scriptures, they borrow their infallible authority from 
the sacred and inspired authors who wrote them ; they 
are verified by the events which followed them, by the 
execution or fulfilment of predictions made many ages 
previously ; and which could neither be done, nor fore- 
seen, nor performed, either by the human mind, or by 
the strength of man, not even by the angel of darkness. 

I am but little concerned at the opinion passed on 
myself and my intentions in the publication of this 
treatise. Some have thought that I did it to destroy 
the popular and common idea of apparitions, and to 


make it appear ridiculous; and I acknowledge that 
those who read this work attentively and without pre- 
judice, will remark in it more arguments for doubting 
what the people believe on this point, than they will 
find to favour the contrary opinion. If I have treated 
this subject seriously, it is only in what regards those 
facts in which religion and the truth of Scripture is 
interested ; those which are indifferent, I have left to 
the censure of sensible people, and the criticism of the 
learned, and of philosophical minds. 

I declare that I consider as true all the apparitions 
related in the sacred books of the Old and j^ew Tes- 
tament ; without pretending, however, that it is not 
allowable to explain them. On this point I may apply 
the principle of St. Paul : ^ " The letter killeth, and the 
Spirit giveth life." 

As to the other apparitions and visions related in 
Christian, Jewish, or heathen authors, I do my best 
to discern amongst them, and I exhort my readers to 
do the same; but I blame and disapprove the outrageous 
criticism of those who deny everything, and make diffi- 
culties of everything, in order to distinguish themselves 
by their pretended strength of mind, and to authorize 
themselves thus to deny everything, dispute the most 
certain facts, and in general all that savours of the 
marvellous. St. Paul permits us to examine and prove 
everything ; but he desires us to hold fast that which 
is o'ood.'' 

" 2 Cor. iii. 16. ^1 Thess. v. 21. 


Every body talks of apparitions of angels and demons, 
and of souls separated from the body. The reality 
of these apparitions is considered as certain by many 
persons, while others deride them and treat them 
as altogether visionary. 

I have determined to examine this matter, just to 
see what certitude there can be on this point; and 
I shall divide this Dissertation into four parts. In 
the first, I shall speak of good angels ; in the second, 
of the appearances of bad angels; in the third, of 
the apparitions of souls of the dead ; and in the 
fourth, of the appearance of living men to others 
living, absent, distant, and this unknown to those 
who appear. I shall occasionally add something on 
magic, wizards, and witches ; on the Sabbath, oracles, 
and obsession and possession by demons. 

VOL. I. 





The apparitions or appearances of good angels are 
frequently mentioned in the books of the Old Testa- 
ment. He who was stationed at the entrance of the 
terrestrial Paradise/ was a cherub, armed with a flam- 
ing sword; those who appeared to Abraham, and who 
promised that he should have a son;^ those who 
appeared to Lot, and predicted to him the ruin of 
Sodom, and other guilty cities ;'' he who spoke to 
Hagar in the desert,'^ and commanded her to return 
to the dwelling of Abraham, and to remain submissive 
to Sarah, her mistress ; those who appeared to Jacob, 
on his journey into Mesopotamia, ascending and 
descending the mysterious ladder;^ he who taught 
him how to cause his sheep to bring forth young dif- 
ferently marked ; ^ he who wrestled with Jacob on his 

" Gen. iii. 24. ^ Gen. xviii. 1—3. «= Gen. xix. 

•^ Gen. xxi. 17. ^ Gen. xxviii. 12. ^ Gen. xxxi. 10, 11. 



return from Mesopotamia/ — were angels of light, and 
benevolent ones; the same as he who spoke with 
Moses from the burning bush on Horeb,^ and who 
Sfave him the tables of the law on Mount Sinai. That 
Angel who takes generally the name of God, and acts 
in his name, and with his authority ; ^ who served as a 
guide to the Hebrews in the desert, hidden during the 
day in a dark cloud, and shining during the night; 
he who spoke to Balaam, and threatened to kill his 
she-ass ; ^ he, lastly, who contended with Satan for the 
body of Moses ; ^ — all these angels were without doubt 
good angels. 

We must think the same of him who presented him- 
self armed to Joshua on the plain of Jericho,"^ and who 
declared himself head of the army of the Lord ; it is 
believed, with reason, that it was the angel Michael. 
He who showed himself to the wife of Manoah,'^ the 
father of Samson, and afterwards to Manoah himself. 
He who announced to Gideon that he should deliver 
Israel from the power of the Midianites.° The angel 
Gabriel, who appeared to Daniel, at Babylon;? and 
Raphael who conducted the young Tobias to Rages, 
in Media.i 

The prophecy of the Prophet Zechariah is full of 
visions of angels/ In the books of the Old Testament, 
the throne of the Lord is described as resting: on 
cherubim; and the God of Israel is represented as 

s Gen. xxxii. ^ Exod. iii. 6, 7. ' Exod. iii. iv. 

^ Numb. xxii. xxiii. ^ Jude 9. "" Josh. v. 13. 

" Judges xiii, ° Judges vi. vii. p Dan. viii. 16 ; ix. 21. 

1 Tobit V. ' Zech. v. 9, 10, 11, &c. 


having before his throne^ seven principal angels, always 
ready to execute his orders, and four cherubim sing- 
in o- his praises, and adoring his sovereign holiness; 
the whole making a sort of allusion to what they saw 
in the court of the ancient Persian kings,* where there 
were seven principal officers who saw his face, ap- 
proached his person, and were called the eyes and ears 
of the king. 

* Psalm xvii. 10 ; Ixxix. 2, &c. 

* Tobitxii. Zech.iv. 10. Rev. i.4. 




The books of the New Testament are In the same 
manner full of facts wMcli prove the apparition of good 
angels. The angel Gabriel appeared to Zachariah, the 
father of John the Baptist, and predicted to him the 
future birth of the Fore-runner.^ The Jews, who saw 
Zachariah come out of the temple, after having remained 
within it a longer time than usual, having remarked 
that he ^vas struck dumb, had no doubt but that he 
had seen some apparition of an angel. The same 
Gabriel announced to Mary the future birth of the 
Messiah.^ When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the 
angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds in the 
nio-ht,*^ and declared to them that the Saviour of the 
world was born at Bethlehem. There is every reason 
to believe that the star which appeared to the Magi in 
the East, and which led them straight to Jerusalem, 
and thence to Bethlehem, w^as directed by a good 
angel. ^ St. Joseph was warned by a celestial spirit to 
retire into Egypt, with the mother and the infant 
Christ, for fear that Jesus should fall into the hands of 

^ Luke i. 10 -12, &c. ^ Luke i. 26, 27, &c. 

«= Luke ii. 9, 10. «• Matt, ii. 13, 14, 20. 


Herod, and be involved in the massacre of the Inno- 
cents. The same angel informed Joseph of the death of 
King Herod, and told him to return to the land of Israel. 

After the temptation of Jesus Christ in the wilder- 
ness, angels came and brought him food.^ The demon 
tempter said to Jesus Christ, that God had commanded 
his angels to lead him, and to prevent him from stum- 
bling against a stone ; which is taken from the 92d 
Psalm, and proves the belief of the Jews on the 
article of guardian angels. The Saviour confirms the 
same truth when he says that the angels of children 
constantly behold the face of the celestial Father.^ 
At the last judgment, the good angels will separate the 
just," and lead them to the kingdom of heaven, while 
they will precipitate the wicked into eternal fire. 

At the agony of Jesus Christ in the garden of Olives, 
an an2:el descended from heaven to console him.^ After 
his resurrection, angels appeared to the holy women 
who had come to his tomb to embalm him.^ In the 
Acts of the Apostles, they appeared to the Apostles 
as soon as Jesus had ascended into heaven ; and the 
angel of the Lord came and opened the doors of the 
prison where the Apostles were confined, and set them 
at liberty.^ In the same book St. Stephen tells us that 
the law was given to Moses by the ministration of 
angels ;^ consequently, those were angels who appeared 
on Sinai and Horeb, and who spoke to him in the name 
of God, as his ambassadors, and as invested with his 

* Matt. iv. 6, 11. ' Matt, xviii. 16. s Matt. xiii. 45, 46. 

*" Luke xxii. 43. ' Matt, xxviii. John. ^ Acts v. 19. 
1 Acts yii. 30, 35. 


authority ; also^ the same Moses, speaking of the angel 
of the Lord, who was to introduce Israel into the Pro- 
mised Land, says that " the name of God is in him." °^ 
St. Peter, being in prison, is delivered from thence by 
an angel,^ who conducted him the length of a street, 
and disappeared. St. Peter, knocking at the door of 
the house in which his brethren were, they could not 
believe that it was he; they thought that it was his 
angel who knocked and spoke. St. Paul, instructed in 
the school of the Pharisees, thought as they did on the 
subject of angels; he believed in their existence, in 
opposition to the Sadducees,° and supposed that they 
could appear. When this Apostle, having been arrested 
by the R-omans, related to the people how he had been 
overthrown at Damascus, the Pharisees, who were pre- 
sent, replied to those who exclaimed against him — 
"How do we know, if an angel or a spirit hath not 
spoken to him ? " St. Luke says, that a Macedonian, 
(apparently the angel of Macedonia,) appeared to 
St. Paul, and beo^s^ed him to come and announce the 
Gospel in that country. 

St. John, in the Apocalypse, speaks of the seven 
angels, who presided over the Churches in Asia. I 
know that these seven angels are the Bishops of these 
Churches, but the ecclesiastical tradition will have it, 
that every Church has its tutelary angel. In the same 
book, the Apocalypse, are related divers appearances of 
angels. All Christian antiquity has recognised them, 

'^ Exod. xxiii. 21. ° Acts xii. 8, 9. 

Eom. i. 18. 1 Cor. iv. 9 ; vi. 3 ; xii. 7. Gal. iii. 19. Acts xvi. 9 ; 
xxiii. 9. Eev. i. 11. 


the Synagogue also has recognised them; so that it 
may be affirmed that nothing is more certain than the 
existence of good angels and their apparitions. 

I place in the number of apparitions, not only those 
of good or bad angels, and the spirits of the dead who 
show themselves to the living, but also those of the 
livino^ who show themselves to the ang-els or souls of 
the dead ; whether these apparitions are seen in dreams, 
or during sleep, or awaking; whether they manifest 
themselves to all those who are present, or only to the 
persons to whom God judges proper to manifest them. 
For instance, in the Apocalypse,? St. John saw the 
four animals, and the four-and-twenty elders, who were 
clothed in white garments and wore crowns of gold 
upon their heads, and were seated on thrones around that 
of the Almighty, who prostrated themselves before the 
throne of the Eternal, and cast their crowns at his feet. 

And, elsewhere : "I saw four angels standing at the 
four corners of the world,^ who held back the four 
winds and prevented them from blowing on the earth ; 
then I saw another angel, who rose on the side of the 
east, and who cried out to the four angels who had 
orders to hurt the earth. Do no harm to the earth, or 
the sea, or the trees, until we have impressed a sign on 
the foreheads of the servants of God. And I heard 
that the number of those who received this sign (or 
mark) was a hundred and forty-four thousand. After- 
wards I saw an innumerable multitude of all nations, 
tribes, people and languages, standing before the throne 

p Rev. iv. 4, 10. i Eev. vii. 1—3, 9, &c. 

B 3 


of the Most High, arrayed in white garments, and 
having palms in their hands." 

And in the same book'' St. John says, after having 
described the majesty of the throne of God, and the 
adoration paid to him by the angels and saints prostrate 
before him, one of the elders said to him, — " Those 
whom you see covered with white robes, are those who 
have suffered great trials and afflictions, and have 
washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb; for which 
reason they stand before the throne of God, and will do 
so night and day in his temple ; and He who is seated 
on the throne will reign over them, and the angel which 
is in the midst of the throne will conduct them to the 
fountains of living water." And, again,^ "I saw under 
the altar of God the souls of those who have been put 
to death for defending the word of God, and for the 
testimony which they have rendered ; they cried with a 
loud voice, saying, When, Lord, wilt thou not avenge 
our blood upon those who are on the earth ? " &c. 

All these apparitions, and several others similar to 
them, which might be related as being derived from the 
holy books as well as from authentic histories, are true 
apparitions, although neither the angels, nor the 
martyrs, spoken of in the Apocalypse, came and pre- 
sented themselves to St. John; but, on the contrary, 
this Apostle was transported in spirit to heaven, to see 
there what we have just related. These are apparitions 
which may be called passive on the part of the angels 
and holy martyrs, and active on the part of the holy 
Apostle who saw them. 

' Eev. vii. 13, 14. • Rev. vi. 9, 10. 



The most usual form in which good angels appear, 
both in the Old Testament and the New, is the human 
form. It was in that shape they showed themselves to 
Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Manoah the father 
of Samson, to David, Tobit, the Prophets ; and in the 
New Testament they appeared in the same form to the 
Holy Virgin, to Zachariah the father of John the 
Baptist, to Jesus Christ after his fast of forty days, 
and to him again in his agony in the Garden of Olives. 
They showed themselves in the same form to the holy 
women after the resurrection of the Saviour. The one 
who appeared to Joshua^ on the plain of Jericho, ap- 
peared apparently in the guise of a warrior, since Joshua 
asks him, " Art thou for us, or for our adversaries ? " 

Sometimes they hide themselves under some form 
which has resemblance to the human shape, like him 
who appeared to Moses in the burning bush,^ and who 
led the Israelites in the desert in the form of a cloud, 
dense and dark during the day, but luminous at night.'' 
The Psalmist tells us, that God makes his angels serve 
» Josh. V. 29. ^ Exod. iii. 3, 44. <^ Exod. xiii, xiv. 


as a piercing wind and a burning fire, to execute his 

The cherubim, so often spoken of in the Scriptures, 
and who are described as serving for a throne to the 
majesty of God, were hieroglyphical figures, something 
like the sphinx of the Egyptians; those which are 
described in Ezekiel^ are like animals composed of the 
figure of a man, having the wings of an eagle, the feet 
of an ox ; their heads were composed of the face of a 
man, an ox, a lion, and an eagle, two of their wings 
were spread towards their fellows, and two others 
covered their body ; they were brilliant as burning 
coals, as lighted lamps, as the fiery heavens when they 
send forth the lightning's flash — they were terrible to 
look upon. 

The one who appeared to DanieF was different from 
those we have just described; he was in the shape of 
a maUj covered with a linen garment, and round his 
loins a gh'dle of very fine gold ; his body was shining 
as a chrysolite, his face as a flash of lightning ; his eyes 
darted fire like a lamp ; his arms and all the lower part 
of his body was like brass melted in the furnace ; his 
voice was loud as that of a multitude of people. 

St. John, in the Apocalypse,^ saw around the throne 
of the Most High four animals, which doubtless were 
four angels ; they were covered with eyes before and 
behind. The first resembled a lion, the second an ox, 
the third had the form of a man, and the fourth was 
like an eagle with outspread wings ; each of them had 

<! Psalm civ. 4. •* Ezek. i. 4, 6. 

^ Dan. X, 5. s Kev. iv. 7, 8. 


six wings, and they never ceased to cry night and day, 
" Holy, holy, holy. Lord God Almighty, who was, and 
is, and is to come/' 

The angel who was placed at the entrance of the 
terrestrial paradise was armed with a shining sword,^ 
as well as the one who appeared to Balaam,^ and who 
threatened, or was near killing, both himself and his 
ass ; and so, apparently, was the one who showed him- 
self to Joshua in the plain of Jericho,'^ and the angel 
who appeared to David, ready to smite all Israel. The 
angel Raphael guided the young Tobias to Rages 
under the human form of a traveller.^ The angel who 
was seen by the holy woman at the sepulchre of the 
Saviour, who overthrew the large stone which closed 
the mouth of the tomb, and who was seated upon it, 
had a countenance which shone like lightning, and 
garments white as snow.^ 

In the Acts of the Apostles,^ the angel who ex- 
tricated them from prison, and told them to go boldly 
and preach Jesus Christ in the temple, also appeared 
to them in a human form. The manner in which he 
delivered them from the dungeon is quite miraculous ; 
for the chief priests having commanded that they 
should appear before them, those who were sent found 
the prison securely closed, the guards wide awake ; 
but having caused the doors to be opened, they found 
the dungeon empty. How could an angel, without 
opening, or any fracture of the doors, thus extricate 
men from prison without either the guards or the 

^ Gen. iii. 24. > Numb. xxii. 22, 23, ^ 1 Chron. xxi. 16. 

' Tobit V. 5. "» Matt, xxyiii. 3. ° Acts ii. 


gaoler perceiving anything of the matter ? The thing 
is beyond any known powers of nature ; but it is no 
more impossible than to see our Saviour after his 
resurrection, invested with flesh and bones, as he 
himself says, come forth from his sepulchre, without 
opening it, and without breaking the seals,*^ enter the 
chamber wherein were the Apostles without opening 
the doors,P and speak to the disciples going to Em- 
maus without making himself known to them; then, 
after having opened their eyes, disappear and become 
invisible."! During the forty days that he remained 
upon earth till his ascension, he drank and ate with 
them, he spoke to them, he appeared to them ; but he 
showed himself only to those witnesses who were pre- 
ordained by the eternal Father to bear testimony to 
his resurrection. 

The angel who appeared to the centurion, Cornelius, 
a pagan, but fearing God, answered his questions, and 
discovered to him unknown things, which things came 
to pass. 

Sometimes the angels, without assuming any visible 
shape, give proofs of their presence by intelligible 
voices, by inspirations, by sensible effects, by dreams, 
or by revelations of things unknown, whether future 
or past. Sometimes by striking with blindness, or 
infusing a spirit of uncertainty or stupidity in the 
minds of those whom God wills should feel the effects 
of his wrath ; for instance, it is said in the Scriptures 
that the Israelites heard no distinct speech, and beheld 

° Matt, xxviii. 1, 2. p John xix. 20. "i Luke xxiii. 15—17, &c. 


no form on Horeb when God spoke to Moses, and 
cfave him the Law/ 

The angel, who might have killed Balaam's ass, 
w^as not at first perceived by the prophet;^ Daniel 
was the only one who beheld the angel Gabriel, who 
revealed to him the mystery of the great empires 
which were to succeed each other.* 

When the Lord spoke for the first time to Samuel, 
and predicted to him the evils which he would inflict 
on the family of the High-priest, Eli, the young pro- 
phet saw no visible form ; he only heard a voice, which 
he at first mistook for that of the High-priest, Eli, 
not being yet accustomed to distinguish the voice of 
God from that of a man. 

The angels who guided Lot and his family from 
Sodom and Gomorrah were at first perceived under a 
human form by the inhabitants of the city ; but after- 
wards, these same angels struck the men with blind- 
ness, and thus prevented them from finding the door 
of Lot's house, into which they would have entered by 

Thus, then, angels do not always appear under a 
visible or sensible form, nor in a figure uniformly the 
same; but they give proofs of their presence by an 
infinity of different ways — by inspirations, by voices, 
by prodigies, by miraculous effects, by predictions of 
the future, and other things hidden and impenetrable 
to the human mind. 

St. Cyprian relates, that an African Bishop, falling 
ill during the persecution, earnestly requested to have 
' Deut. iv. 15. ^ Numb. xii. 22, 23. ' Dan. x. 7, 8. 


the viaticum administered to him ; at the same time 
he saw, as It were, a young man, with a majestic air, 
and shining with such extraordinary lustre, that the 
eyes of mortals could not nave beheld him without 
terror ; nevertheless, the Bishop was not alarmed. 
This angel said to him angrily, and in a menacing tone, 
" You fear to suffer. You do not wish to leave this 
Avorld. What would you have me do for you?" (or 
" What can I do for you ? ") The good Bishop com- 
prehended that these words alike regarded him and 
the other Christians who feared persecution and death. 
The Bishop talked to them, encouraged them, and 
exhorted them to arm themselves with patience to suji- 
port the tortures with which they were threatened. 
He received the communion, and died in peace. We 
shall find in different histories an infinite number of 
other apparitions of angels under a human form. 



After what we have just related from the books of the 
Old and New Testament, it cannot be disavowed that 
the Jews in general, the Apostles, the Christians, and 
their disciples, have commonly believed in the appari- 
tions of good angels. The Sadducees, who denied the 
existence and the apparition of angels, were commonly- 
considered by the Jews as heretics, and as supporting 
an erroneous doctrine. Jesus Christ refutes them in 
the Gospel. The Jews of our days believe literally 
what is related in the Old Testament, concerning the 
angels who appeared to Abraham, Lot, and other 
patriarchs. It was the belief of the Pharisees and of 
the Apostles in the time of our Saviour, as may be 
seen by the writings of the Apostles and by the whole 
of the Gospel. 

The Mahometans believe, as do the Jews and Chris- 
tians, that good angels appear to men sometimes, under 
a human form; that they appeared to Abraham and 
Lot ; that they punished the inhabitants of Sodom ; 
that the archangel Gabriel appeared to Mahomet, and 
revealed to him all that is laid down in his Koran : that 


the Genii are of a middle nature, between man and 
angel f that they eat, drink, beget children, that they 
die, and can foresee things to come. In consequence 
of this principle or idea, they believe that there are 
male and female Grenii; that the males, whom the 
Persians call by the name of Dives, are bad, very ugly, 
and mischievous, making war against the Peris, who 
are the females. The Kabbis will have it that these 
Genii were born of Adam alone, without any concur- 
rence of his wife Eve, or of any other woman, and that 
they are what we call ignis fatuii (or wandering lights). 

The antiquity of these opinions touching the corpo- 
rality of angels, appears in several old writers, who, 
deceived by the apocryphal book which passes under 
the name of the Booh of Enoch, have explained of the 
angels what is said in Genesis,^ " That the children of 
God, having seen the daughters of men, fell in love with 
their beauty, wedded them, and begot giants of them^'"' 
Several of the ancient Fathers'^ have adoj3ted this 
opinion, which is now given up by every body, with 
the exception of some new writers, who desu'ed to 
revive the idea of the corporality of angels, demons, 
and souls — an opinion which is absolutely incompatible 
wdth that of the Catholic Church, which holds that 
angels are of a nature entirely distinct from matter. 

I acknowledge that, according to their system, the 
affair of apparitions could be more easily explained; 

= D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient. Peritli. Dives, 785. Idem, 243, p. 85. 
^ Gen. vi. 2. 

•= Joseph. Antiq. lib. i. c. 4. Philo, De Gigantibus. Justin. Apol. 
Tertul. de Anima. Vide Commentatores in Gen. iv. 


it Is easier to conceive that a corporeal substance should 
appear, and render itself visible to our eyes, than a 
substance purely spiritual ; but this is not the place to 
reason on a philosophical question, on which different 
hypotheses could be freely grounded, and to choose 
that which should explain these appearances in the 
most plausible manner, even though it answer in the 
most satisfactory manner the questions asked, and the 
objections formed against the facts, and against the 
proposed manner of stating them. 

The question is resolved, and the matter decided. 
The Church and the Catholic schools, hold that angels, 
demons, and reasonable souls, are disengaged from all 
matter; the same Church and the same school hold 
it as certain, that good and bad angels, and souls 
separated from the body, sometimes appear by the will 
and with the permission of God : there we must stop ; 
as to the manner of explaining these apparitions, we 
must, without losing sight of the certain principle of 
the immateriality of these substances, explain them 
according to the analogy of the Christian and Catholic 
faith, acknowledge sincerely that in this matter there 
are certain depths which we cannot sound, and confine 
our mind and information within the limits of that 
obedience which we owe to the authority of the Church, 
that can neither err nor deceive us. 

The apparitions of good angels, and of guardian 
angels, are frequently mentioned in the Old as in the 
New Testament. When the Apostle St. Peter had 
left the prison by the assistance of an angel, and went 
and knocked at the door where the brethren were, they 


believed that it was his angel and not himself who 
knocked.'^ And when Cornelius the Centurion prayed 
to God in his own house, an angel (apparently his 
good angel) appeared to him, and told him to send and 
fetch Peter, who was then at Joppa.^ 

St. Paul desires that at Church no woman should 
appear among them without her face being veiled, 
because of the angels,^ doubtless from respect to the 
good angels who presided in these assemblies. The 
same St, Paul reassures those who were with him in 
danger of almost inevitable shipwreck, by telling them 
that his angel had appeared to him,^ and assured 
him that they should arrive safe at the end of their 

In the Old Testament we likewise read of several 
apparitions of angels, which can hardly be explained 
but as of guardian angels ; for instance, the one who 
appeared to Hagar in the wilderness, and commanded 
her to return and submit herself to Sarah her mistress ;^^ 
and the angel who appeared to Abraham, as he was 
about to immolate Isaac his son, and told him that God 
was satisfied with his obedience ; ^ and when the same 
Abraham sent his servant Eleazer into Mesopotamia, 
to ask for a wife for his son Isaac, he told him that the 
God of heaven, who had promised to give him the 
land of Canaan, would send his angel ^ to dispose all 
things according to his wishes. Examples of similar 
apparitions of tutelary angels, derived from the Old 

"1 Acts xii. 15. « Acts x. 2, 3. M Cor. xi. 10. 

« Acts xxvii. 21, 22. ^ Gen. xvi. 9. • Gen. xxii. 11, 17. 

^ Gen. xxiv. 7. 


Testament, might here be multiplied, but the circum- 
stance does not require a greater number of proofs. 

Under the new dispensation, the apparitions of good 
angels, of guardian spirits, are not less frequent in most 
authentic stories ; there are few Saints to whom God 
has not granted similar favours: we may cite in par- 
ticular St. Frances, a Roman lady of the sixteenth 
.entury, who saw her guardian angel, and he talked to 
her, instructed her, and corrected her. 



Jamblichus, a disciple of Porphyry/ has treated the 
matter of Genii and their apparition more profoundly 
than any other author of antiquity. It would seem, to 
hear him discourse, that he knew both the Genii and 
their qualities, and that he had with them the most 
intimate and continual converse. He affirms that our 
eyes are delighted by the appearance of the gods, that 
the apparitions of the archangels are terrible ; those of 
angels are milder; but when demons and heroes appear, 
they inspire terror; the archontes, who preside over 
this world, cause at the same time an impression of 
grief and fear. The apparition of souls is not quite so 
disagreeable as that of heroes. In the appearance of 
the gods there is order and mildness, confusion and 
disorder in that of demons, and tumult in that of the 

When the gods show themselves, it seems as if the 
heavens, the sun and moon, were all about to be 
annihilated ; one would think that the earth could not 
support their presence. On the appearance of an arch- 
angel, there is an earthquake in every part of the 
* Jamblic. lib. ii. cap. 3 & 5. 


world; it is preceded by a stronger light than that 
which accompanies the apparition of the angels ; at the 
appearance of a demon it is less strong, and diminishes 
still more when it is a hero who shows himself. 

The apparitions of the gods are very luminous ; those 
of angels and archangels less so ; those of demons are 
dark, but less dark than those of heroes. The archontes 
who preside over the brightest things in this world, are 
luminous ; but those which are occupied only with what 
is material, are dark. When souls appear, they resem- 
ble a shade. He continues his description of these 
apparitions, and enters into tiresome details on the 
subject ; one would say, to hear him, that there was a 
most intimate and habitual connexion between the 
gods, the angels, the demons, and the souls separated 
from the body, and himself. But all this is only the 
work of his imagination ; he knew no more than any 
other concerning a matter which is above the reach of 
man's understanding. He had never seen any appari- 
tions of gods, or heroes, or archontes ; unless we say 
that there are veritable demons which sometimes appear 
to men. But to discern them one from the other, as 
Jamblichus pretends to do, is mere illusion. 

The Greeks and Romans, like the Hebrews and 
Christians, acknowledged two sorts of genii, some good 
and beneficent, the others bad and causing evil. The 
ancients even believed, that every one of us received at 
our birth a good and an evil genius ; the former pro- 
cured us happiness and prosperity, the latter engaged 
us in unfortunate enterprises, inspired us with unruly 
desires, and cast us into the worst misfortunes. They 


assigned genii, not only to every person, but also to 
every house, every city, and every province.'' These 
genii are considered as good, beneficent '^ and worthy 
of the worship of those who invoke them. They 
were represented sometimes under the form of a 
serpent, sometimes as a child or a youth. Flowers, 
incense, cakes, and wine were offered to them.*^ Men 
swore by the names of the genii. ^ It was a great crime 
to perjure one's self after having sworn by the genius 
of the emperor, says TertuUian;^ Citius apud tos per 
omnes Deos, quam per unicum Genium Ccesaris perjuratur. 

We often see on medals the inscription, Genio 
POPULi E-OMANi; and when the Romans landed in a 
country, they failed not to salute and adore its genius, 
and to offer him sacrifices.^ In short, there was neither 
kingdom, nor province, nor town, nor house, nor door, 
nor edifice, whether public or private, which had not 
its genius.^ 

We have seen above, what Jamblichus informs us 
concerning apparitions of the gods, genii, good and bad 

*> " Quod te per Genium, dextramque Deosque Penates, 

Obsecro et obtestor." — Horat. lib. i. Epist. 7. 94. 

• " Dum cunctis supplex advolveris aris, 

Et mitem Genium Domini prsesentis adoras." 

Stac. lib. V. Syl. I. 73. 

« Antiquit^e expliquge, torn. i. •* Perseus, Satire ii. 

e Senec. Epist. 12. f Tertull. Apol. c. 23. 

% " Troj a vale, rapimur, clamant; dant oscula terrse 

Troades." — Ovid. Metam. lib. xiii. 421. 

i» " Quamquam cur Genium Romse, mihi fingitis unum ? 

Ciim portis, domibus; thermis, stabulis soleatis, 
Assignare suos Genios?" — Pnident. contra Symmach. 


anjrels, heroes, and the archontes who preside over the 
jrovernmeut of the world. 

Homer, the most ancient of Greek writers, and the 
most celebrated theologian of Paganism, relates several 
apparitions both of gods and heroes, and also of the 
dead. In the Odyssey,^ he represents Ulysses going to 
consult the sorcerer Tiresias; and this diviner having 
prepared a grave or trench full of blood to evoke the 
manes, Ulysses draws his sword to prevent them from 
coming to drink this blood, for which they thirst, but 
which they were not allowed to taste before they had 
answered the questions put to them. They believed 
also, that the souls of the dead could not rest, and that 
they wandered around their dead bodies so long as 
the corpse remained uninhumed. 

Even after they were Interred, food was offered them; 
above every thing honey was given, as if leaving their 
tomb they came to taste what was offered them.^ They 
were persuaded that the demons loved the smoke of 
sacrifices, melody, the blood of victims, and intercourse 
with women; that they were attached for a time to 
certain spots and certain edifices which they infested. 
They believed that souls separated from the gross and 
terrestrial body, preserved after death one more subtile 
and elastic, having the form of that they had quitted ; 
that these bodies were luminous, and like the stars; 
that they retained an inclination for those things which 

• Odyss, XL sub fin. Vid. Horat. lib. i. Satire 7, &c. 
•* Virgil, ^neid. 1. 6. August. Serm. 15. de SS. et Qu£est. 5. in 
Dent. i. 5. c. 43. Vide Spencer, de Leg. Hebreeor. Eitual. 
VOL. I. C 


they had loved during their life on earth, and that 
often they appeared gliding around their tombs. 

To bring back all this to the matter here treated of, 
that is to say, to the appearance of good angels, we may 
note, that in the same manner that we attach to the 
apparitions of good angels the idea of tutelary spirits 
of kingdoms, provinces, and nations, and of each of us 
in particular — as for instance, the Prince of the 
kingdom of Persia, or the angel of that nation, who 
resisted the Archangel Gabriel during twenty-one 
days, as we read in Daniel;^ the angel of Macedonia, 
who appeared to St. Paul,"^ and of whom we have 
spoken before ; the archangel St. Michael, who is 
considered as the chief of the people of God, and the 
armies of Israel ; ^ and the guardian angels deputed by 
God to guide us and guard us all the days of our life ; 
so we may say, that the Greeks and Komans being 
Gentiles, believed that certain sorts of spirits, w^hich 
they imagined were good and beneficent, protected 
their kingdoms, provinces, towns, and private houses. 

They paid them a superstitious and idolatrous wor- 
ship, as to domestic divinities; they invoked them, 
offered them a kind of sacrifice and ofierings of incense, 
cakes, honey, and wine, &c. — but not bloody sacrifices.'^ 

The Platonicians taught, that carnal and voluptuous 

1 Dan, X. 1 3. "^ Acts xvi. 9. 

^ Josh. V. 13. Dan. x. 13, 21 ; xii, 1. Judg. v. 6. Eev. xii. 7. 

° Forsitan quia qucerat, quid causce sit, ut merum fundendum sit 
genio, non hostiam faciendam putaverint .... Scilicet ut die natcdi 
munus annale genio solverent, manum h ccede ac sanguine abstinerent. 
— Censorin. de Die Natali, c. 2. Yide Taffin de Anno Saecul. 


men could not see their genii, because their mind was 
not sufficiently pure, nor enough disengaged from 
sensual things ; but that men who were wise, moderate, 
and temperate, and who applied themselves to serious 
and sublime subjects, could see them; as Socrates, for 
instance, who had his familiar genius, whom he con- 
sulted, to whose advice he listened, and whom he 
beheld, at least with the eyes of the mind. 

If the oracles of Greece and other countries are 
reckoned in the number of apparitions of bad spirits, we 
may also recollect the good spirits who have announced 
things to come, and have assisted the prophets and 
inspired persons, whether in the Old Testament or the 
New. The angel Gabriel was sent to Daniel,? to 
instruct him concernins; the vision of the four sreat 
monarchies, and the accomplishment of the seventy 
weeks, which were to put an end to the captivity. 
The prophet Zechariah says expressly, that the angel 
iL'Jio appeared unto Mm,^ revealed to him what he must 
say — he repeats it in five or six places; St. John, in 
the Apocalypse,^ says the same thing, that God had 
sent his angel to inspire him with what he was to say 
to the Churches. Elsewhere ® he again makes mention 
of the ano-el who talked with him, and who took in his 
presence the dimensions of the heavenly Jerusalem. 
And again, St. Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews,^ 
*' If what has been predicted by the angels may pass for 

p Dan. viii. 16 ; ix. 21. 

1 Zech. i. 10, 13, 14, 19 ; ii. 3, 4 ; iv. 1, 4, 5 ; v. 5, 10. 

' Rev. i. 1. ^ Rev. x. 8, 9, &c. ; xi. 1, 2, 3, &c. ' Heb. ii. 2. 

c 2 


From all we have just said, it results, that the 
apparitions of good angels are not only possible, but 
also very real; that they have often appeared, and 
under diverse forms; that the Hebrews, Christians, 
Mahometans, Greeks, and Romans, have believed in 
them ; that when they have not sensibly appeared, they 
have given proofs of their presence in several different 
ways. We shall examine elsewhere how we can ex- 
plain the kind of apparition, whether of good or bad 
angels, or souls separated from the body. 



The books of the Old and New Testament, together 
with sacred and profane history, are full of relations of 
the apparition of bad spirits. The first, the most 
famous, and the most fatal apparition of Satan, is that 
of the appearance of this evil spirit to Eve, the first 
woman,^ in the form of a serpent, which animal served 
as the instrument of that seducing demon in order to 
deceive her and induce her to sin. Since that time he 
has always chosen to appear under that form rather than 
any other ; so in Scripture he is often termed the Old 
Serpent ; ^ and it is said, that the infernal dragon fought 
against the woman who figured or represented the 
Church ; that the archangel St. Michael vanquished 
him and cast him down from heaven. He has often 
appeared to the servants of God in the form of a 
dragon, and he has caused himself to be adored by un- 
believers in this form, in a great number of places : at 
Babylon, for instance, they worshipped a living dragon,"^ 
which Daniel killed by making it swallow a ball or 
bolus, composed of ingredients of a mortally poisonous 
nature. The Serpent was consecrated to Apollo, the god 
of physic and of oracles, and the pagans had a sort of 

* Gen. iii. 1, 23. '' Kev. xii. 9. <= Bel and the Dragon. 


divination by means of serpents, which they called 

The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans worshipped 
serpents, and regarded them as divine.''^ They brought 
to Home the serpent of Epidaurus, to which they paid 
divine honours. The Egyptians considered vipers as 
divinities.^ The Israelites adored the brazen serpent 
elevated by Moses in the desert,^ and which was in 
after times broken in pieces by the holy king Hezekiah.s 

St. Augustine ^ assures us that the Manichteans re- 
garded the serpent as the Christ, and said that this ani- 
mal had opened the eyes of Adam and Eve, by the bad 
roQusel which he gave them. We almost always see 
the form of the serpent in the magical figures^ Abraxas 
and Abrachadabra, which were held in veneration among 
the Basilidian heretics, who like the Manichseans ac- 
knowledge two principles in all things — the one good, 
the other bad ; Abraxas in Hebrew signifies that bad 
principle, or the father of evil ; ab-ra-achad-ab-ra, the 
father of evil, the sole father of evil, or the only bad 

-St. Ausrustine^ remarks that no animal has been more 
subject to the effects of enchantment and magic than 
the serpent, as if to punish him for having seduced the 
first woman by his imposture. 

^ Wisd. xi. 16. ^ iElian. Hist. Animal. 

^ Numb. xxi. 2 Kings xviii. 4. 

& On this subject, see a work of profound learning, and as interesting 
as profound, on "The Worship of the Serpent," by the Rev. John 
Bathurst Deane, M.A. F.S.A. 

'' Aug. torn. viii. pp. 28, 284. • Ah-racha, ^^XQi^mali, or pater malus. 

^ August, de Gen. ad Lit. 1. ii. c. 18. 


However, the demon has usually assumed the human 
form when he would tempt mankind ; it was thus that 
he appeared to Jesus Christ in the desert;^ that he 
tempted him and told him to change the stones into bread 
that he might satisfy his hunger ; that he transported 
him, the Saviour, to the highest pinnacle of the temple, 
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and 
offered him the enjoyment of them. 

The ans^el who wrestled with Jacob at Peniel"^ on 
his return from his journey into Mesopotamia, was a 
bad angel according to some ancient writers ; others, as 
Severus Sulpicius^ and some Rabbis, have thought that 
it was the ano;el of Esau, who had come to combat with 
Jacob ; but the greater number believe that it was a 
o-ood ano;el. And would Jacob have asked him for his 
blessino; had he deemed him a bad ansfel ? But how- 
ever that fact may be taken, it is not doubtful that 
the demon has appeared in a human form. 

Several stories, both ancient and modern, are related, 
which inform us that the demon has appeared to those 
whom he wished to seduce, or who have been so un- 
happy as to invoke his aid, or make a compact with him, 
as a man taller than the common stature, dressed in 
black, and with a rough ungracious manner ; making a 
thousand fine promises to those to whom he appeared, 
but which promises were always deceitful, and never 
followed by a real effect. I can even believe that they 
beheld what existed only in their own confused and 
deranged ideas. 

' Matt. iv. 9, 10, &c. ■" Gen. xxxii. 24, 25. 

" Sever. Sulpit. Hist. Sac. 


At Molsheim/ in the chapel of St. Ignatius in the 
Jesuits' Church, may be seen a celebrated inscription, 
which contains the history of a young German gentle- 
man, named Michael Louis, of the honse of Boubenhoren, 
who having been sent by his parents when very young 
to the court of the Duke of Lorraine, to learn the 
French language, lost all his money at cards ; reduced 
to despair, he resolved to give himself to the demon, if 
that bad spirit would or could give him some good 
money ; for he doubted that he would only furnish him 
with counterfeit and bad coin. As he was meditatins 
on this idea, suddenly he beheld before him a youth of 
his own age, well made, well dressed, who having asked 
him the cause of his uneasiness, presented him with 
a handful of money, and told him to try if it was 
good. He desired him to meet him at that place the 
next day. 

Michael returned to his companions, who were still at 
play, and not only regained all the money he had lost, 
but won all that of his companions. Then he went in 
search of his demon, who asked as his reward three 
drops of his blood, which he received in an acora-cup ; 
after which, presenting a pen to Michael, he desired 
him to write what he should dictate. He then dictated 
some unknown words, which he made him write on 
two different bits of paper,? one of which remained in 
the possession of the demon, the other was inserted in 

° A small city or town of the Electorate of Cologne, situated on a 
river of the same name. 

p There were in all ten letters, the greater part of them Greek, but 
which formed no (apparent) sense: They were to be seen at Molsheim, 
in the tablet which bore a representation of this miracle. 


Michael's arm, at the same place whence the demon had 
drawn the blood. And the demon said to him, " I 
engage myself to serve you during seven years, after 
which you will unreservedly belong to me." 

The young man consented to this, though with a 
feeling of horror ; and the demon never failed to appear 
to him day and night under various forms, and taught 
him many unknown and curious things, but which 
always tended to evil. The fatal termination of the 
seven years was approaching, and the young man was 
then about twenty years old. He returned to his 
father's house, when the demon to whom he had given 
himself inspired him with the idea of poisoning his 
father and mother, of setting fire to their chateau, and 
then killing himself. He tried to commit all these 
crimes, but God did not allow him to succeed in these 
attempts. The gun with which he wished to kill 
himself missed fire twice, and the poison did not take 
effect on his father and mother. 

More and more uneasy, he revealed to some of his 
father's domestics the miserable state in which he found 
himself, and entreated them to procure him some 
succour. At the same time the demon seized him, and 
bent his body back, so that he was near breaking his 
bones. His mother, who had adopted the heresy of 
Suenfeld, and had induced her son to follow it also, not 
finding in her sect any help against the demon that 
possessed, or obseded him, was constrained to place him 
in the hands of some monks. But he soon withdrew 
from them and retired to Islade, from whence he was 
brought back to Molsheim by his brother, a canon of 



Wurzburg, who put him again into the hands of 
fathers of the society. Then it was that the demon 
made still more violent efforts against him, appearing 
to him in the form of ferocious animals. One day, 
amongst others, the demon, wearing the form of a 
hairy savage, threw on the ground a schedule, or 
compact, different from the true one which he had 
extorted from the young man, to try by means of this 
false appearance to withdraw him from the hands of 
those who kept him, and prevent his making his general 
confessioD. At last they fixed on the 20th of October, 
1603, as the day for being in the Chapel of St. Ignatius, 
and to cause to be brouo;ht the true schedule containino; 
the compact made w^ith the demon. The young man 
there made profession of the Catholic and orthodox 
faith, renounced the demon, and received the holy 
sacrament. Then, uttering horrible cries, he said he saw 
as it were two he-goats of immeasurable size, which, 
holding up their fore-feet, (standing on their hind-legs,) 
held between their claws, each one separately, one 
of the schedules or agreements. But as soon as the 
exorcisms were begun, and the priests invoked the 
name of St. Ignatius, the two he-goats fled away, and 
there came from the left arm or hand of the young man, 
almost without pain, and without leaving any scar^ the 
compact, which fell at the feet of the exorcist. 

There now wanted only the second compact, which 
had remained in the power of the demon. They re- 
commenced their exorcisms, and invoked St. Ignatius, 
and promised to say a mass in honour of the saint ; at 
the same moment there appeared a tall stork, deformed 


and badly made, who let fall the second schedule from 
his beak, and they found it on the altar. 

The pope, Paul V., caused information of the truth 
of these facts to be taken by the commissary-deputies, 
M. Adam, Suffragan of Strasburg, and George, Abbot 
of Altorf, who were juridically interrogated, and who 
affirmed that the deliverance of this young man was 
pricipally due, after God, to the intercession of St. 

The same story is related rather more at length in 
Bartoli's Life of -St. Ignatius Loyola. 

Melancthon owns ^ that he has seen several spectres, and 
conversed with them several times ; and Jerome Cardan 
affirms, that his father, Fassius Cardanus, saw demons 
whenever he pleased, apparently in a human form. 
Bad spirits sometimes appear also under the figure of 
a lion, a dog, or a cat, or some other animal — as a bull, 
a horse, or a raven; for the pretended sorcerers and 
sorceresses relate that at the (witches') sabbath he is 
seen under several different forms of men, animals, and 
birds ; whether he takes the shape of these animals, or 
whether he makes use of the animals themselves as 
instruments to deceive or harm, or w^hether he simply 
affects the senses and imao;ination of those whom he 
has fascinated and who give themselves to him ; for in 
all the appearances of the demon we must always be 
on our guard, and mistrust his stratagems and malice. 
St. Peter '^ tells us that Satan is always roaming round 
about us, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may 

1 Lib. de Anima. ' 1 Pet. iii. 8. 


devour. And St. Paul, in more places than one,^ warns 
us to mistrust the snares of the devil, and to hold 
ourselves on our guard against him. 

Sulpicius Severus,* in the life of St. Martin, relates 
a few examples of persons who were deceived by 
apparitions of the demon, who transformed himself 
into an angel of light. A young man of very high 
rank, and who was afterwads elevated to the priesthood, 
having devoted himself to God in a monastery, imagined 
that he held converse with angels ; and as they would 
not believe him, he said that the following night God 
would give him a white robe, with which he would 
appear amongst them. In fact, at midnight the 
monastery was shaken as with an earthquake, the cell of 
the young man was all brilliant with light, and they 
heard n noise like that of many persons going to and 
for, and speaking. 

After that, coming forth from his cell, he showed 
to the Brothers (of the convent) the tunic with which 
he was clothed : it was made of a stuff of admirable 
whiteness, shining as purple, and so extraordinarily 
fine in texture, that they had never seen any thing 
like it, and could not tell from what substance it was 

They passed the rest of the night in singing psalms 
of thanksgiving, and in the morning they wished to 
conduct him to St. Martin. He resisted as much as he 
could, saying that he had been expressly forbidden to 
appear in his presence. As they were pressing him to 

^ Eph. vi. 11. 1 Tim. iii. 7. 

t Sulpit. Sever. Yit. St. Martin, h. xv. 


come, the tunic vanished, which led every one present 
to suppose that the whole thing was an illusion of the 

Another solitary suffered himself to be persuaded 
that he was Eli ; another, that he was St. John the 
Evangelist. One day, the demon wished to mislead 
St. Martin himself, appearing to him, having on a royal 
robe, wearing on his head a rich diadem, ornamented 
with gold and precious stones, golden sandals, and all 
the apparel of a great prince. Addressing himself to 
Martin, he said to him, " Acknowledge me, Martin ; — 
I am Jesus Christ, who, wishing to descend to earth, 
have resolved to manifest myself to thee first of all." 
St. Martin remained silent at first, fearing some snare ; 
and the phantom having repeated to him that he was the 
Christ, Martin replied: — "My Lord Jesus Christ did 
not say that he should come clothed in purple, and decked 
with diamonds. I shall not acknowledge him unless he 
appears in that same form in which he suffered death, 
and unless I see the marks of his cross and passion." 

At these words the demon disappeared ; and Sulpi- 
cius Severus affirms that he relates this as he heard it 
from the mouth of St. Martin himself. A little before 
this, he says that Satan showed himself to him some- 
times under the form of Jupiter, or Mercury, or Venus, 
or Minerva ; and sometimes he was to reproach Martin 
greatly because, by baptism, he had converted and 
regenerated so many great sinners. But the saint 
despised him, drove him away by the sign of the cross, 
and answered him, that baptism and repentance effaced 
all sins in those who were sincere converts. 


All this proves the malice, envy, and fraud of the 
devil against the saints, on the one side; and on the 
other, the weakness and uselessness of his efforts against 
the true servants of God, and that it is but too true he 
often appears in a visible form. 

In the histories of the saints we sometimes see that 
he hides himself under the form of a woman, to tempt 
pious hermits, and lead them into evil ; sometimes in 
the form of a traveller, a priest, a monk, or an angel of 
lights to mislead simple-minded people, and cause them 
to err; for every thing suits his purpose, provided he 
can exercise his malice and hatred ao-ainst men. 

When Satan appeared before the Lord in the midst 
of his holy angels, and asked permission of God to 
tempt Job,^ and try his patience through every thing 
that was dearest to that holy man, he doubtless pre- 
sented himself in his natural state, simply as a spirit, 
but full of ra2:e ao-ainst the saints, and in all the 
deformity of his sin and rebellion. 

But when he says, in the Books of Kings, that he will 
he a hjing spirit in the mouth of false prophets^ and that 
God allows him to put in force his ill-will, we must not 
imagine that he shows himself corporeally to the eyes 
of the false prophets of king Aliab ; he only inspired 
the falsehood in their minds, — they believed it, and 
persuaded the king of the same. Amongst the visible 
appearances of Satan may be placed mortalities, wars, 
tempests, public and private calamities, which God sends 
upon nations, provinces, cities, and families, whom the 
Almighty causes to feel the terrible effects of his wmth 
" 2 Cor. xi. 14. » Job i. 6—8. ^ 1 Kings xxii. 21. 


and just vengeance. Thus the exterminating angel 
kills the first-born of the Egyptians/ The same angel 
strikes with death the inhabitants of the guilty cities of 
Sodom and Gomorrah,^ He does the same with Onan, 
who committed an abominable action.^ The wicked man 
seelis only division and quarrels, says the sage ; and the 
cruel angel shall he sent against him.^ And the Psalmist, 
speaking of the plagues which the Lord inflicted upon 
Egypt, says, that he sent evil angels among them. 

When David, in a spirit of vanity, caused his people 
to be numbered, God showed him an angel hovering 
over Jerusalem, ready to smite and destroy it. I do 
not say decidedly whether it was a good or a bad angel, 
since it is certain that sometimes the Lord employs 
good angels to execute his vengeance against the wricked. 
But it is thought that it was the devil who slew eighty- 
five thousand men of the army of Sennacherib. And in 
the Apocalypse, those are also evil angels who pour out 
on the earth the phials of wrath, and caused all the 
scourges set down in that holy book. 

We shall also place amongst the appearances and 
works of Satan, false Chris ts, false prophets. Pagan 
oracles, magicians, sorcerers, and sorceresses, those w^ho 
are inspired by the spirit of Python, the obsession and 
possession of demons, those who pretend to predict the 
future, and whose predictions are sometimes fulfilled ; 
those who make compacts with the devil, to discover 
treasures and enrich themselves ; those who make use 
of charms ; evocations by means of magic ; enchant- 

^ Exdti. ix. 6. a Gen. xviii. 13, 14. 

^ Gen. xxxviii. <= Prov. xvii. 11. 


ment; the being devoted to death by a vow; the 
deceptions of idolatrous priests, who feigned that their 
gods ate and drank and had commerce with women; — 
all these can only be the work of Satan, and must be 
ranked with what the Scripture calls the depths of 
Satan.^ We shall say something on this subject in the 
course of the Treatise. 

^ Rev. ii. 24. 



Many persons regard magic, magicians, witchcraft, 
and charms, as fables and illusions, the effects of ima- 
gination in weak minds, who, foolishly persuaded of 
the excessive power possessed by the devil, attribute to 
him a thousand things which are purely natural, but 
the physical reasons for which are unknown to them, or 
which are the effects of the art of certain charlatans, who 
make a trade of imposing on the simple and ignorant. 
These opinions are supported by the authority of the 
principal parliaments of the kingdom, who acknowledge 
neither magicians nor sorcerers, and who never punish 
those accused of magic, or sorcery, unless they are 
convicted also of some other crimes. As, in short, the 
more they punish and seek out magicians and sorcerers, 
the more they abound in a country ; and, on the con- 
trary, experience proves that in places where nobody 
believes in them, none are to be found, the most 
efficacious means of uprooting this fancy is to despise 
and neglect it. 

It is said that magicians and sorcerers themselves, 
when they fall into the hands of judges and inquisitors, 
are often the first to maintain that magic and sorcery 


are merely imaginary, and the effect of popular pre- 
judices and errors. Upon that footing, Satan would 
destroy himself, and overthrow his own empire, if he 
were thus to decry magic, of which he is himself the 
author and support. If the magicians really, and of 
their own good will, independently of the demon, make 
this declaration^ they betray themselves most lightly, 
and do not make their cause better ; since the judges, 
notwithstanding their disavowal, prosecute them, and 
always punish them without mercy, being well per- 
suaded that it is only the fear of execution and the 
hope of remaining unpunished which makes them 
say so. 

But would it not rather be a stratagem of the evil 
spirit,^ who endeavours to render the reality of magic 
doubtful, to save from punishment those who are 
accused of it, and to impose on the judges, and make 
them believe that magicians are only madmen and 
hypochondriacs, worthy rather of compassion than 
chastisement ? TVe must then return to the deep 
examination of the question, and prove that magic is 
not a chimera, neither has it aught to do with reason. 
We can neither rest on a sure foundation, nor derive 
any certain argument for or against the reality of magica 
either from the opinion of pretended esprits forts, who 
deny because they think proper to do so, and because 
the proofs of the contrary do not appear to them suffi- 
ciently clear or demonstrative ; nor from the declaration 
of the demon, of magicians and sorcerers, who maintain 
that magic and sorcery are only the eifects of a disturbed 
* Vide Bodin, Preface. 


imagination ; nor from minds foolislily and vainly preju- 
diced on the subject, that these declarations are produced 
simply by the fear of punishment ; nor by the subtilty 
of the malignant spirit, who wishes to mask his play, 
and cast dust in the eyes of the judges and witnesses, 
by making them believe that what they regard with so 
much horror, and what they so vigorously prosecute, 
is anything but a punishable crime, or at least a crime 
deserving of punishment. 

We must then prove the reality of magic by the 
Holy Scriptures, by the authority of the Church, and 
by the testimony of the most grave and sensible writers ; 
and, lastly, show that it is not true that the most 
famous parliaments acknowledge neither sorcerers nor 

The teraphim which Kachel the wife of Jacob brought 
away secretly from the house of Laban, her father,^ 
were doubtless superstitious figures, to which Laban's 
family paid a worship, very like that which the Komans 
rendered to their household gods, Penates and Lares, 
and whom they consulted on future events. Joshua'^ 
says very distinctly, that Terah the father of Abraham 
adored strange gods in Mesopotamia. And in the 
prophets Hosea and Zechariah,'^ the Seventy translate 
teraphim by the word oracles. Zechariah and EzekieP 
show that the Chaldeans and the Hebrews consulted 
these teraphim to learn future events. 

Others believe that they were talismans or preserva- 
tives ; everybody agrees as to their being superstitious 

^ Gen. xxxi, 19. <= Josh. xxiv. 2 — 4. 

'' Hosea ii. 4, &c. Zech. v. 2. « Zech. x. 2. Ezek. xxi. 21. 


figures (or idols), which were consulted in order to find 
out things unknown, or that were to come to pass. 

The patriarch Joseph, speaking to his own brethren 
according to the idea which they had of him in Egypt, 
says to them : ^ " Know ye not that in all the land there 
is not a man who equals me in the art of divining and 
predicting things to come ? " And the oflScer of the same 
Joseph, having found in Benjamin's sack, Joseph's cup, 
which he had purposely hidden in it, says to them: = 
^' It is the cup of which my master makes use to dis- 
cover hidden things." 

By the secret of their art, the magicians of Pharaoh 
imitated the true miracles of Moses ; but not being able 
like him to produce gnats (English version lice), they 
were constrained to own that the finger of God was in 
what Moses had hitherto achieved.'' 

After the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt, 
God expressly forbids his people to practise any sort of 
magic or divination.^ He condemns to death magicians, 
and those who make use of charms. 

Balaam the Diviner, being invited by Balak the king 
to come and devote the Israelites to destruction, God 
put blessings into his mouth instead of curses ;'' and 
this bad prophet, amongst the blessings which he 
bestows on Israel, says, there is among them neither 
augury, nor divination, nor magic. 

In the time of the Judges, the Idol of Micah was 
consulted as a kind of oracle.^ Gideon made, in his 

^ Gen. xliv. 15. g Gen. xliv. 5. 

^ Exod. vii. 10—12. Exod. viii. 19. > Exod. xxii. 18. 

^ Numb. xxii. xxiii. 23. * Judg. xvii. 1, 2. 


Iiouse and his city, an Ephod, accompanied by a super- 
stitious image, which was for his family, and to all the 
people, the occasion of scandal and ruin.°^ 

The Israelites went sometimes to consult Beelzebub, 
god of Ekron,° to know if they should recover from 
their sickness. The history of the evocation of Samuel 
by the witch of Endor° is well known. I am aware 
that some difficulties are raised concerning this history. 
I shall deduce nothing from it here, except that this 
woman passed for a witch, that Saul esteemed her such, 
and that this prince had exterminated the magicians in 
his own states, or, at least, that he did not permit them 
to exercise their art. 

Manasses, king of Judah,? is blamed for having in- 
troduced idolatry into his kingdom, and particularly for 
having allowed there diviners, aruspices, and those 
who predicted things to come. King Josiah, on the 
contrary, destroyed all these superstitions.^ 

The prophet Isaiah, who lived at the same time, says 
that they wished to persuade the Jews then in captivity 
at Babylon to address themselves, as did other nations, 
to diviners and magicians ; but they ought to reject 
these pernicious counsels, and leave those abominations 
to the Gentiles, who knew not the Lord. DanieP speaks 
of the magicians, or workers of magic among the 
Chaldeans, and of those amongst them who interpreted 
dreams, and predicted things to come. 

In the New Testament, the Jews accused Jesus Christ 

"> Judg. viii. 27. " .2 Kings i. 2, 3. 

° 1 Sam. xxviii. 7, et seq. p 2 Kings xxi. 16. 

1 2 Kings xxii. 24. ' Dan. iv. 6, 7. 


of casting out devils in the name of Beelzebub^ tlie 
prince of the devils ; ® but he refutes them by saying, 
that being come to destroy the empire of Beelzebub, it 
was not to be believed that Beelzebub would work 
miracles to destroy his own power, or kingdom.* St. 
Luke speaks of Simon the sorcerer, who had for a long 
time bewitched the inhabitants of Samaria with his 
sorceries; and also of a certain Bar- Jesus of Paphos, 
who professed sorcery, and boasted he could predict 
future events.^ St. Paul, when at Ephesus, caused a 
number of books of magic to be burned.^ Lastly, the 
Psalmist ^ and ,the author of the Book of Ecclesiasticus,^ 
speak of charms with which they enchanted serpents. 

In the Acts of the Apostles,^ the young girl of the 
town of Philippi, who was a Pythoness, for several 
successive days rendered testimony to Paul and Silas, 
saying that they were " the servants of the Most High, and 
that they announced to men the way of sahation.''^ Was 
it the devil who inspired her with these words, to 
destroy the fruit of the preaching of the Apostles, by 
making the people believe that they acted in concert 
with the spirit of evil ? Or was it the Spirit of God 
which put these words into the mouth of this young 
girl, as he put into the mouth of Balaam prophecies 
concerning the Messiah ? There is reason to believe 
that she spoke through the inspiration of the evil spirit, 
since St. Paul imposed silence on her, and expelled the 

* Matt. X. 25 ; xii. 24, 25. ' Luke xi. 15, 18, 19. 

'^ Acts viii. 11 ; xiii. 6. ^ Acts xix. 19. 

y Psalm Ivii. ^ Ecclus. xii. 1 3. 
» Acts xvi. 16, 17. 


spirit of Python, by which she had been possessed, and 
which had inspired the predictions she uttered, and the 
knowledge of hidden things. In what way soever we 
may explain it, it will always follow that magic is not 
a chimera, that this maiden was possessed by an evil 
spirit, and that she predicted and revealed things hidden 
and to come, and brought her masters considerable gain 
by soothsaying ; for those who consulted her would, 
doubtless, not have been so foolish as to pay for these 
predictions, had they not experienced the truth of them 
by their success and by the event. 

From all this united testimony it results that magic, 
enchantments, sorcery, divination, the interpretation of 
dreams, auguries, oracles, and the magical figures which 
announced things to come, are very real, since they 
are so severely condemned by Grod, and that He wills 
that those who practise them should be punished with 



I SHALL not fail to be told that all these testimonies 
from Scripture do not prove the reality of magic, 
sorcery, divination, and the rest ; but only that the 
Hebrews and Egyptians, I mean the common people 
among them, believed that there were people who had 
intercourse with the Divinity, or with good and bad 
angels, to predict the future, explain dreams, devote 
their enemies to the direst misfortunes, cause maladies, 
raise storms, and call forth the souls of the dead ; if 
there was any reality in all this, it was not in the 
things themselves, but in their imaginations and pre- 

Moses and Joseph were regarded by the Egyptians 
as great magicians. Rachel, it appears, believed that 
the teraphim of her father Laban were capable of 
giving her information concerning things hidden and to 
come. The Israelites might consult the idol of Micah, 
and Beelzebub the god of Ekron ; but the sensible and 
enlightened people of those days, like similar persons in 
our own, considered all this as the sport and knavery 
of pretended magicians, who derived much emolument 
from maintaining these prejudices among the people. 


Moses most wisely ordained the penalty of death 
ao-ainst those persons who abused the simplicity of the 
iornorant to enrich themselves at their expense, and 
turned away the people from the worship of the true 
God, in order to keep up among them such practices as 
were superstitious and contrary to true religion. 

Besides, it was necessary to good order, the interests 
of the commonwealth and of true piety, to repress 
those abuses which are in opposition to them, and to 
punish with extreme severity those who draw away 
the people from the true and legitimate worship due to 
God, lead them to worship the devil, and place their 
confidence in the creature, in prejudice to the right of 
the Creator; inspiring them with vain terrors, where 
there is nothing to fear, and maintaining their minds 
in the most dangerous errors. If amongst an infinite 
number of false predictions, or vain interpretations of 
dreams, some of them are fulfilled, either this is occa- 
sioned by chance, or it is the work of the devil, who is 
often permitted by God to deceive those whose foolish- 
ness and impiety lead them to address themselves to him 
and place their confidence in him, all which the wise 
Ij^wgiver, animated by the divine Spirit, justly repressed 
by the most rigorous punishment. 

All histories and experience on this subject, demon- 
strate that those who make use of the art of mao^ic, 
charms, and spells, only employ their art, their secret, 
and their power, to corrupt and mislead ; for crime and 
vice ; thus they cannot be too carefully sought out or too 
severely punished. 

We may add, that what is often taken for black or 

VOL. I. D 


diabolical magic, is nothing but natural magic, or art 
and cleverness on the part of those who perform things 
which appear above the force of nature. How many 
marvellous effects are related of the divining rod, sym- 
pathetic powder, phosphoric lights, and mathematical 
secrets ! How much knavery is now well known in the 
priests of idols, and in those of Babylon, who made the 
people believe that the god Bel drank and ate ; that a 
large living dragon was a divinity ; that the god Anubls 
desired to have certain women, who were thus deceived 
by the priests; that the ox Apis gave out oracles, and that 
the serpent of Alexander of Abonotiche knew the sick- 
ness, and gave remedies to the patient without opening 
the billet which contained a description of the illness ! 
We may possibly speak more fully on this subject here- 

In short, the most judicious and most celebrated par- 
liaments have recognised neither magicians nor sorcerers, 
at least, they have not condemned them to death unless 
they were convicted of other crimes, such as theft, bad 
practices, poisoning, or criminal seduction ; for instance, 
in the affair of Gofredl, a priest of jNIarseilles, who was 
condemned by the parliament of Aix to be torn with 
hot pincers, and burnt alive. The heads of that com- 
pany, in the account which they render to the chan- 
cellor of this their sentence, testify that this cure was 
in truth accused of sorcery, but that he had been con- 
demned to the flames as guilty and convicted of spiritual 
incest with his penitent, Madelaine de la Palu. From 
all this it is concluded that there is no reality in what 
is called magic. 



In answer to these, I allow that there Is indeed very 
often a great deal of illusion, prepossession, and imagi- 
nation in all that is termed magic and sorcery ; and 
sometimes the devil by false appearances combines with 
them to deceive the simple; but oftener, without the 
evil spirit being any otherwise a party to it, wicked, 
corrupt, and interested men, artful and deceptive, abuse 
the simplicity both of men and women, so far as to 
persuade them that they possess supernatural secrets 
for interpreting dreams and foretelling things to come, 
for curing maladies, and discovering secrets unknown 
to any one ; I can easily agree to all that. All kinds of 
histories are full of facts which demonstrate what I 
have just said. The devil has a thousand things im- 
puted to him in which he has no share ; they give him 
the honour of predictions, revelations, secrets, and dis- 
coveries, which are by no means the effect of his power, 
or penetration ; as in the same manner he is accused of 
having caused all sorts of evils, tempests, and maladies, 
which are purely the effect of natural but unknown 

It is very true that there are really many persons 
who are persuaded of the power of the devil, of his 



influence over an infinite number of things, and of the 
effects which they attribute to him ; that they have 
consulted him to learn future events, or to discover 
hidden things ; that they have addressed themselves 
to him for success in their projects, for money, or 
favour, or to enjoy their criminal pleasures. All this 
is very real. Magic, then, is not a simple chimera, 
since so many persons are infatuated with the power of 
charms and convicted of holding commerce with the 
devil, to procure a number of effects which pass for 
supernatural. Now it is the folly, the vain credulity, 
the prepossession of such people that the law of God 
interdicts, that Moses condemns to death, and that the 
Christian Church punishes by its censures, and which the 
secular judges repress with the greatest rigour. If in 
all these things there was nothing but a diseased imagi- 
nation, weakness of the brain, or popular prejudices, 
would they be treated with so much severity ? Do 
we put to death hypochondriacs, maniacs, or those 
who imagine themselves ill ? No, they are treated 
with compassion, and every effort is made to cure 
them. But in the other case, it is impiety, or super- 
stition, or vice, in those who consult, or believe they 
consult the devil, and place their confidence in him, 
against which the laws are put in force and ordain 

Even if we could deny and contest the reality of 
augurs, diviners, and magicians, and look on all these 
kind of persons, as seducers, who abuse the simplicity 
of those who betake themselves to them, could we deny 
the reality of the magicians of Pharaoh, that of Simon, 


of Bar-jesus, of the Pythoness of the Acts of the 
Apostles ? Did not the first mentioned perform many 
wonders before Pharaoh ? Did not Simon the magician 
rise into the air by means of the devil ? Did not St. 
Paul impose silence on the Pythoness of the city of 
Philippi in Macedonia ? ^ Will it be said that there was 
any collusion between St. Paul and the Pythoness ? 
Nothing of the kind can be maintained by any reason- 
able argument. 

A small volume was published at Paris in 1732, by 
a new author, who conceals himself under the two 
initials M. D. ; it is entitled. Treatise on Magic, Witch- 
crafty Possessions, Obsessions and Charms ; in which their 
truth and reality are demonstrated. He shows that he 
believes there are magicians; he shows by Scripture, 
both in the Old and New Testament, and by the 
authority of the ancient fathers, some passages from 
whose works are cited in that of Father Debrio, entitled 
Disquisitiones Magicce. He proves it by the rituals of all 
the dioceses, and by the examinations which are found 
in the printed " Hours," wherein they suppose the 
existence of sorcerers and magicians. 

The civil laws of the emperors, whether pagan or 
christian, those of the kings of France, both ancient 
and modern, jurisconsult, physicians, historians both 
sacred and profane, concur in maintaining this truth. 
In all kinds of writers we may remark an infinity of 
stories of magic, spells, and sorcery. The parliaments 
of France, and the tribunals of justice in other nations, 
have recognised magicians, the pernicious effects of their 

* Acts xvi, 10. 


art, and condemned them personally to the most rigorous 

He relates at full length^ the remonstrances made to 
king Louis XIV. in 1670 by the parliament at Kouen, 
to prove to that monarch, that it was not only the 
parliament of Rouen, but also all the other parliaments 
of the kingdom, which followed the same rules of juris- 
prudence in what concerns magic and sorcery, that they 
acknowledged the existence of such things, and condemn 
them. This author cites several facts, and several sen- 
tences given on this matter in the parliaments of Paris, 
Aix, Toulouse, Rennes, Dijon, &c. &c.; and it was upon 
these remonstrances that the same king in 1682 made 
his declaration concerning the punishment of various 
crimes, and in particular, of sorcery, diviners or sooth- 
sayers, magicians, and similar crimes. 

He also cites the treaty of M. de la Marre, com- 
missary at the cliatelet of Paris, who speaks largely of 
magic, and proves its reality, origin, progress, and 
effects. Would it be possible that the sacred authors, 
laws divine and human, the greatest men of antiquity, 
jurisconsults, the most enlightened historians, bishops in 
their councils, the Church in her decisions, her practices 
and prayers, should have conspired to deceive us, and to 
condemn those who practise magic, sorcery, spells, and 
crimes of the same nature, to death, and the most rigorous 
punishments, if they were merely illusive, and the effect 
only of a diseased and prejudiced imagination ? Father 
le Brun, of the Oratoire, who has written so well upon 
the subject of superstitions, substantiates the fact that 

*> Page 31, et seq. 


the parliament of Paris recognises that there are sor- 
cerers, and that it punishes them severely when they 
are convicted. He proves it by a decree issued in 
1601 against some inhabitants of Champagne accused of 
witchcraft. The decree wills that they shall be sent to 
the Conciergerie by the subaltern judges on pain of 
being deprived of their charge. It supposes that they 
must be rigorously punished, but it desires that the pro- 
ceedings against them for their discovery and punish- 
ment may be exact and regular. 

M. Servin, advocate general and councillor of state, 
fully proves from the Old and New Testament, from 
tradition, laws and history, that there are diviners, 
enchanters, and sorcerers, and refutes those who would 
maintain the contrary. He shows that magicians and 
those who make use of charms, ought to be punished 
and held in execration ; but he adds that no punishment 
must be inflicted till after certain and evident proofs 
have been obtained ; and this is what must be strictly 
attented to by the parliament of Paris, for fear of 
punishing madmen for guilty persons, and taking illu- 
sions for realities. 

The parliament leaves it to the Church to inflict ex- 
communication, both on men and women who have 
recourse to charms, and who believe they go in the 
night to nocturnal assemblies, there to pay homage to 
the devil. The Capitularies of the kings ° recommend 
the pastors to instruct the faithful on the subject of 
what is termed the Sabbath ; at any rate they do not 
command that these persons should receive corporeal 
•^ Capitular. R. xiii. de Sortilegiis et Sorciariis, 2. col. 36. 


punishment, but only that they should be undeceived 
and prevented from misleading others in the same 

And there the parliament stops, so long as the case 
goes no further than simply misleading ; but when it 
goes so far as to injure others, the kings have often 
commanded the judges to punish these persons with fines 
and banishment. The Ordonnances of Charles VIII. 
in 1490, and of Charles IX. in the states of Orleans in 
1560, express themselves formally on this point, and 
they were renewed by King Louis XIV. in 1682. 
The third article of these Ordonnances, bears, that if it 
should happen " there were persons to he found icicked 
enough to add impiety and sacrilege to superstition, those 
teho shall be convicted of these crimes shall be punished icith 

When, therefore, it is evident that some person has 
inflicted injury on his neighbour by malpractices, the 
parliament punishes them rigorously, even to the pain 
of death, conformably to the ancient Capitularies of the 
kingdom,^ and the royal Ordonnances. Bodin, who 
wrote in 1680, has collected a great number of decrees, 
to which may be added those which the reverend 
Father le Brun reports, given since that time. 

He afterwards relates a remarkable instance of a man 
named Hocque, who was condemned to the galleys, the 
2d of September 1687, by sentence of the high court 
of justice at Passy, for having made use of malpractices 
towards animals, and having thus killed a great number 
in Champagne. Hocque died suddenly, miserably, and 
^ Capitular, in 872, x. 2. col. 230. 


' in despair, after having discovered, wten drunken with 
wine, to a person named Beatrice, the secret which he 
made use of to kill the cattle ; he was not ignorant that 
the demon would cause his death, to revenge the dis- 
covery which he had made of this spell. 

Some of the accomplices of this wretched man were 
condemned to the galleys by divers decrees; others 
were condemned to be hanged and burnt, by order of 
the Bailie of Passy, the 26th of October 1691, which 
sentence was confirmed by decree of the parliament 
of Paris, the 18th of December 1691. From all which 
we deduce that the parliament of Paris acknowledges 
that the spells by which people do injury to their 
neighbours ought to be rigorously punished ; that the 
devil has very extensive power which he too often 
exercises over men and animals, and that he would ex- 
ercise it oftener, and with greater extension and fury, if 
he were not limited and hindered by the power of God, 
and that of good angels, who set bounds to his malice. 
St. Paul warns us® to put on the armour of God, to 
be able to resist the snares of the devil : for, adds he, 
"we have not to war against flesh and blood: but 
against princes and powers, against the bad spirits who 
govern this dark world, against the spirits of malice 

who reign in the air." 

Eph. vi. 12. 





Monsieur de St. Andre, consulting physician in 
ordinary to the king, in his sixth letter ^ against magic, 
maintains that in the affair of Hocque which has been 
mentioned, there was neither magic, nor sorcery, nor 
any operation of the demon ; that the venomous drug 
which Hocque placed in the stables, and by means of 
which he caused the death of the cattle stalled therein, 
was nothing but a poisonous compound which, by its 
smell and the diffusion of its particles, poisoned the 
animals and caused their death ; it required only for 
these drugs to be taken away, for the cattle to be safe, 
or else to keep the cattle from the stable in which the 
poison was placed. The difficulty laid in discovering 
where these poisonous drugs were hidden; the shep- 
herds, who were the authors of the mischief, taking all 
sorts of precautions to conceal them, knowing that 
their lives were in danger if they should be discovered. 

He further remarks, that these gogues or poisoned 

drugs lose their effects after a certain time, unless they 

are renewed or watered with something to revive them 

and make them ferment again. If the devil had any 

* M. de St. Andre, Letter VI. on the subject of Magic, &c. 


share In this mischief, the drug would always possess 
the same virtue, and it would not be necessary to renew 
it and refresh it, to restore it to its pristine power. 

In all this, M. de St. Andre supposes that if the 
demon had any power to deprive animals of their lives, 
or to cause them fatal maladies, he could do so inde- 
pendently of secondary causes ; which will not be easily 
srranted him by those who hold that God alone can 
give life and death by an absolute power, independently 
of all secondary causes and of any natural agent. The 
demon might have revealed to Hocque the composition 
of this fatal and poisonous drug— he might have taught 
him its dano^erous effects, after which the venom acts 
in a natural way ; it recovers and resumes its pristine 
strength when it is watered ; it acts only at a certain 
distance, and according to the reach of the corpuscules 
which exhale from it. All these effects have nothing 
supernatural in them, nor which ought to be attributed 
to the demon : but it is credible enough, that he in- 
spired Hocque with the pernicious design to make use 
of a dangerous drug, which the wretched man knew 
how to make up, or the composition of which was 
revealed to him by the evil spirit. 

M. de St. Andre continues, and says, that there is 
nothing in the death of Hocque which ought to be attri- 
buted to the demon ; it is, says he, a purely natural 
effect, which can proceed from no other cause than the 
venomous effluvia which came from the poisonous drug 
when it was taken up, and which were carried towards 
the malefactor by those which proceeded from his own 
body while he was preparing it, and placing it in the 


ground, which remained there and were preserved In 
that spot, so that none of them had been dissipated. 

These effluvia proceeding from the person of Hocque, 
then finding themselves liberated, returned to whence 
they originated, and drew with them the most malig- 
nant and corrosive particles of the charge or drug, 
which acted on the body of this shepherd as they did 
on those of the animals who smelled them. He con- 
firms what he has just said, by the example of sympa- 
thetic powder which acts upon the body of a wounded 
person, by the immersion of small particles of the blood, 
or the pus of the wounded man upon whom it is 
applied, which particles draw with them the spirit of 
the drugs of which it (the powder) is composed, and 
carry them to the wound. 

But the more I reflect on this pretended evaporation 
of the venomous effluvia emanating from the poisoned 
drug, hidden at Passy en Brie, six leagues from Paris, 
which are supposed to come straight to Hocque, shut 
up at la Tournelle, borne by the animal effluvia pro- 
ceeding from this malefactor's body at the time he 
made up the poisonous drug and put it in the ground, 
so long before the dangerous composition was dis- 
covered ; the more I reflect on the possibility of these 
evaporations, the less I am persuaded of them ; I could 
wish to have proofs of this system, and not instances of 
the very doubtful and very uncertain effects of sympa- 
thetic powder, which can have no place in the case in 
question. It is proving the obscure by the obscure, 
and the uncertain by the uncertain ; and even were we 
to admit generally some effects of the sympathetic 


powder, they could not be applicable bere ; the distance 
between the places is too great, and the time too long ; 
and what sympathy can be found between this shep- 
herd's poisonous drug and his person, for it to be able 
to return to him who is imprisoned at Paris, when the 
gogue is discovered at Passy ? 

The account composed and printed on this event, 
bears, that the fumes of the wine which Hocque had 
drank, having evaporated, and he reflecting on what 
Beatrice had made him do, began to agitate himself, 
howled, and complained m.ost strangely, saying that 
Beatrice had taken him by surprise, that it would occa- 
sion his death, and that he must die the instant that 
Bras-de-fer, another shepherd, to whom Beatrice had 
persuaded Hocque to write word to take off the poisoned 
drug, which he had scattered on the ground, at Passy, 
should take away the dose. He attacked Beatrice, 
w^hom he wanted to strangle, and even excited the 
other felons who were with him in prison, and condemned 
to the galleys, to maltreat her, through the pity they 
felt for the despair of Hocque, who, at the time the 
dose was taken off the land, had died in a moment, in 
strange convulsions, and agitating himself like one 

M. de St. Andre would again explain all this, by sup- 
posing Hocque's imagination being struck with the idea 
of his dying, which he was persuaded would happen at 
the time they carried away the poison, had a great deal 
to do with his sufferings and death. How many people 
have been known to die at the time they had fancied they 
should, when struck with the idea of their approaching 


death. The despair and agitation of Hocque had dis- 
turbed the mass of his blood, altered the humours, 
deranged the motion of the effluvia, and rendered them 
much susceptible of the actions of the vapours pro- 
ceeding from the poisonous composition. 

M. de St. Andre adds, that if the devil had had any 
share in this kind of mischievous spell, it could only be 
m consequence of some compact, either expressed or 
tacit, that as soon as the poison should be taken up, he 
who had put it there should die immediately. Now 
what likelihood is there that the person who should 
make this compact with the devil, should have made 
use of such a stipulation, which would expose him to a 
cruel and inevitable death ? 

1. We may reply, that fright can cause death ; but 
that it is not possible for it to produce it at a given 
time, nor can he who falls into a paroxysm of grief, 
say that he shall die at such a moment : the moment 
of death is not in the power of man in similar circum- 

2. That so corrupt a character as Hocque, a man 
who without provocation, and to gratify his ill-will, 
kills an infinite number of animals, and causes great 
damage to innocent persons, is capable of the greatest 
excess, may give himself up to the evil spirit, by impli- 
cated or explicit compacts, and engage, on pain of losing 
his life, never to take off the charge he had thrown 
upon a village. He believed he should risk nothing by 
this stipulation, since he was free to take it away or to 
leave it, and it was not probable that he should ever 
lightly thus expose himself to certain death. That the 


(lemon had some share in this virtue of the poisonous 
composition is very likely, when we consider the circum- 
stances of its operations, and those of the death and 
despair of Hocque. This death is the just penalty of 
his crimes, and of his confidence in the exterminating 
angel to whom he had yielded himself. 

It is true that impostors, weak minds, heated imagi- 
nations, ignorant and superstitious persons, have been 
found, who have taken for black magic, and operations 
of the demon, what was quite natural, and the effect of 
some subtilty of philosophy or mathematics, or even 
an illusion of the senses, or a secret which deceives the 
eye and the senses. But to conclude from thence that 
there is no magic at all, and that all that is said about 
it is pure prejudice, ignorance, and superstition, is to 
conclude what is general from what is particular, and 
to deny what is true and certain, because it is not easy 
to distinguish what is true from what is false, and 
because men will not take the trouble to examine into 
causes. It is far easier to deny everything than to enter 
upon a serious examination of facts and circumstances. 



All Pagan antiquity speaks of magic and magicians, 
of magical operations^ and of superstitious, curious, and 
diabolical books. Historians, poets, and orators, are 
full of thino;s which relate to this matter ; some believe 
in it, others deny it ; some laugh at it, others remain in 
uncertainty and doubt. Are they bad spirits, or de- 
ceitful men, impostors and charlatans, who, by the sub- 
tilties of their art, make the ignorant believe that 
certain natural effects are produced by supernatural 
causes ? That is the point on which men differ. But 
in general, the name of magic and magician is now 
taken in these days in an odious sense, for an art which 
produces marvellous effects, that appear above the 
common course of nature ; and that by the operation of 
the bad spirit. 

The author of the celebrated Book of Enoch, which 
had so great a vogue, and has been cited by some 
ancient writers^ as inspired Scripture, says that the 
eleventh of the watchers, or of those angels who 
were in love with women, was called Pharmacius or 

» Apud Syncell. 


Pharmaclins ; that he taught men, before the flood, 
enchantments, spells, magic arts, and remedies against 
enchantments. St. Clement of Alexandria, in his 
Recognitions, says that Ham the son of Noah received 
that art from heaven, and taught it to Misraim his son, 
the father of the Egyptians. 

In the Scripture, the name of Mage or Magus is 
never used in a good sense as signifying philosophers 
who studied astronomy, and were versed in divine and 
supernatural things, except in speaking of the Magi 
who came to adore Jesus Christ at Bethlehem.^ Every- 
where else the Scriptures condemn and abhor magic 
and magicians.'^ They severely forbid the Hebrews to 
consult such persons and things. They speak with 
abhorrence of Simon and of Elymas, well-known ma- 
gicians, in the Acts of the Apostles ; ^ and of the 
magicians of Pharaoh, who counterfeited by their 
illusions the true miracles of Moses. It seems likely 
that the Israelites had taken the habit in Egypt, where 
they then were, of consulting such persons, since Moses 
forbids them in so many different places, and so severely, 
either to listen to them, or to place confidence in their 

The Chevalier Marsham shows very clearly that the 
school for magic among the Egyptians, is the most 
ancient ever known in the world ; that from thence it 
spread amongst the Chaldeans, the Babylonians, the 
Greeks and Persians. St. Paul informs us that Jannes 
and Jambres, famous magicians of the time of Pharaoh, 
•• Matt. iii. 1, 7, 36. •= Lev. xix. 31 ; xx: ^ Acts viii. 9 ; xiii. 8. 


resisted Moses. Pllnj remarks, that anciently, there 
was no science more renowned, or more in honour, than 
that of magic : Summam litterarum claritatem gloriamque 
ex ea scientia antiquitus et penh semper petitam. 

Porphyry^ says that Bang Darius, son of Hystaspes, 
had so high an idea of the art of magic, that he caused 
to be engraved on the mausoleum of his father Hystaspes, 
''^That he had been the chief and the master of the magi of 

The embassy that Balak, king of the Moabites, sent 
to Balaam the son of Beor, who dwelt in the moun- 
tains of the East, towards Persia and Chaldea,^ to 
entreat him to come and curse and devote to death 
the Israelites, who threatened to invade his country, 
shows the antiquity of magic, and of the magical 
superstitions of that country. For will it be said that 
these maledictions and inflictions were the effect of 
the inspiration of the good Spirit, or the work of good 
angels? I acknowledge that Balaam was inspired by 
God in the blessings which he gave to the people of 
the Lord, and in the prediction which he made of the 
coming of the Messiah ; but we must acknowledge, also, 
the extreme corruption of his heart, his avarice, and all 
that he would have been capable of doing, if God had 
permitted him to follow his bad inclination and the 
inspiration of the evil spirit. 

Diodorus of Sicily,^ on the tradition of the Egyptians, 

« Porph. de Abstinent, lib. iv. § 16. Vid. et Ammian. Marcell. 
lib. xxiii. 
^ Numb, xxiii. 1 — 3. i Diodor. Sicul, lib. i. p. 5. 


says, that the Chaldeans who dwelt at Babylon and 
in Babylonia, were a kind of colony of the Egyptians, 
and that it was from these last that the sages, or magi 
of Babylon, learned the astronomy which gave them 
such celebrity. 

We see, in Ezekiel,^ the king of Babylon, marching 
against his enemies at the head of his army, stop short 
where two roads meet, and mingle the darts, to know by 
magic art, and the flight of these arrows, which road he 
must take. In the ancients, this manner of consulting 
the demon by divining wands is known — the Greeks 
call it Rhahdomanteia, 

The prophet Daniel speaks more than once of the 
magicians of Babylon ; king Nebuchadnezzar having 
been frightened in a dream, sent for the magi, or 
magicians, diviners, aruspices, and Chaldeans, to 
interpret the dream he had had. 

Kino; Belshazzar in the same manner convoked the 
magicians, Chaldeans, and aruspices of the country, to 
explain to him the meaning of these words which he 
saw written on the wall : Mene, Tekel, Perez. All 
this indicates the habit of the Babylonians to exercise 
magic art, and consult magicians, and that this 
pernicious art was held in high repute among them. 
We read in the same Prophet, of the trickery made use 
of by the priests to deceive the people, and make them 
believe that their gods lived, ate, drunk, spoke, and 
revealed to them hidden things. 

I have already mentioned the magi who came to 
i* Ezek. xxi. 21. 


adore Jesus Christ ; there is no doubt that they came 
from Chaldea or the neighbouring country, but differing 
from those of whom we have just spoken, by their piety, 
and havino* studied the true reliojion. 

We read in books of travels, that superstition, magic, 
and fascinations, are still very common in the East, 
both among the fire-worshippers, descended from the 
ancient Chaldeans, and among the Persians, sectaries 
of Mahomet. St. Chrysostom had sent into Persia a 
holy bishop, named Maruthas, to have the care of the 
Christians who were in that country ; the king 
Isdegerde having discovered him, treated him with 
much consideration. The magi, who adore and keep up 
the perpetual fire, which is regarded by the Persians 
as their principal divinity, were jealous at this, and 
concealed underground an apostate, who, knowing that 
the king was to come and pay his adoration to the 
(sacred) fire, was to cry out from the depth of his 
cavern, that the king must be deprived of his throne 
because he esteemed the Christian priest as a friend of 
the gods. The king was alarmed at this, and wished 
to send Maruthas away; but the latter discovered 
to him the imposture of the priests : he caused the 
ground to be turned up where the man's voice had 
been heard, and there they found him from whom it 

This example, and those of the Babylonish priests 
spoken of by Daniel, and that of some others, who, to 
satisfy their irregular passions, pretended that their God 
required the company of certain women, prove that 


what is usually taken for the effect of the black art, is 
only produced hy the knavishness of priests, magicians, 
diviners, and all kinds of persons who impose on the 
simplicity and credulity of the people ; I do not deny 
that the devil sometimes takes part in it, but more 
rarely than is imagined. 



The Greeks liave always boasted that they received 
the art of magic from the Persians, or the Bactrians. 
They affirm that Zoroaster communicated it to them ; 
but when we wish to know the exact time at which Zoro- 
aster lived, and when he taught them these pernicious 
secrets, they wander widely from the truth, and even 
from probability; some placing Zoroaster 600 years 
before the expedition of Xerxes into Greece, which 
happened in the year of the world 3523, and before 
Jesus Christ 477 ; others 500 years before the Trojan 
war ; others 5000 years before that famous war ; others 
6000 years before that great event. Some believe that 
Zoroaster is the same as Ham, the son of Noah. Lastly, 
others maintain that there were several Zoroasters 
What appears indubitably true, is, that the worship of 
a plurality of gods, as also magic, superstition, and 
oracles, came from the Egyptians and Chaldeans, or 
Persians, to the Greeks, and from the Greeks to the 

From the time of Homer,^ magic was quite common 
among the Greeks. That poet speaks of the cure of 

» Homer, Iliad, IV. 


wounds, and of blood staunched by the secrets of magic, 
and by enchantment. St. Paul, when at Ephesus, 
caused to be burned there books of magic and curious 
secrets, the value of which amounted to the sum of 
50,000 pieces of silver.^ We have before said a few 
words concerning Simon the magician, and the magi- 
cian Ely mas, known in the Acts of the Apostles.^ 
Pindar says,*^ that the centaur Chiron cured several 
enchantments. When they say that Orpheus rescued 
from hell his wife Eurydice, who had died from the bite 
of a serpent, they simply mean that he cured her by 
the power of charms."^ The poets have employed 
magic verses to make themselves beloved, and they 
have taught them to others for the same purpose ; they 
may be seen in Theocritus, Catullus, and Virgil. 
Theophrastus affirms that there are magical verses 
which cure sciatica. Cato mentions (or repeats) some 
against luxations.^ Varro admits that there are some 
powerful against the gout. 

The sacred books testify that enchanters have the 
secret of putting serpents to sleep, and of charming 
them, so that they can never either bite again, or cause 
any more harm.s The crocodile, that terrible animal, 
fears even the smell and voice of the Tentyriens.'^ Job, 
speaking of the leviathan, which we believe to be the 
crocodile, says, " Shall the enchanter destroy it ? " ^ 

*• Acts xix. 19. *^ Actsviii. 9; xiii. 8. 

^ Find. Od. IV. « Plin. I, 28. 

^ Cato de Eerustic. c. 160. 

K Psalm Ivii. Jer. vii. 17. Eccles. s. 11. 

^ Plin. lib. viii. c. 50. * Job xl..25. 


And in Eccleslasticus,^ " Who will pity the enchanter 
that has been bitten by the serpent ?" ^ 

Everybody knows what is related of the Marsi, 
people of Italy, and of the Psyllas, who possessed the 
secret of charming serpents. One would say, says 
St. Augustine,"^ that these animals understand the lan- 
guages of the Marsi, so obedient are they to their 
orders ; we see them come out of their caverns as 
soon as the Marsian has spoken. All this can only be 
done, says the same Father, by the power of the malig- 
nant spirit, whom God permits to exercise this empire 
over venomous reptiles, above all, the serpent, as if to 
punish him for what he did to the first woman. In 
fact, it may be remarked, that no animal is more ex- 
posed to charms, and the effects of magic art, than the 

The laws of the Twelve Tables forbid the charming 
of a neighbour's crops, qui fruges excantdsset. Valerius 
Flaccus quotes authors who affirm, that when the 
Romans were about to besiege a town, they employed 
their priests to evoke the divinity who presided over 
it, promising him a temple in Rome, either like the 
one dedicated to him in the besieged place, or on a 
rather larger scale, and that the proper worship should 
be paid to him. Pliny says, that the memory of these 
evocations is preserved among the priests. 

' Ecclus. xii. 13. 

" Frigidus in pratis cantando rumpitur anguis." 

Virgil, Eel. VIII. 

" Yipereas rumpo verbis et carmine fauces." — Ovid. 
"" Plin. lib. xxviii. 


If that whicli we have just related, and what we read in 
ancient and modern writers, is at all real, and produces 
the effects attributed to it, it cannot be doubted that 
there is something supernatural in it, and that the devil 
has a great share in the matter. 

The Abbot Trithemius speaks of a sorceress who, 
by means of certain beverages, changed a young Bur- 
gundian into a beast. 

Everybody knows the fable of Circe, who changed 
the soldiers or companions of Ulysses into swine. We 
know also the fable of the Golden Ass, by Apuleius, 
which contains the account of a man metamorphosed 
into an ass. I bring forward these things merely as 
what they are, that is to say, simply poetic fictions. 

But it is very credible that these fictions are not 
destitute of some foundation, like many other fables, 
which contain not only a hidden and moral sense, but 
which have also some relation to an event really his- 
torical : for instance, what is said of the Golden Fleece 
carried away by Jason ; of the Wooden Horse, made 
use of to surprise the city of Troy ; the Twelve Labours 
of Hercules; the metamorphoses related by Ovid. All 
fabulous as those things appear in the poets, they have, 
nevertheless, their historical truth. And thus the 
Pagan poets and historians have travestied and dis- 
guised the stories of the Old Testament, and have 
attributed to Bacchus, Jupiter, Saturn, Apollo, and 
Hercules, what is related of Noah, Moses, Aaron, 
Samson, and Jonah, &c. 

Origen, writing against Celsusj supposes the reality 
of magic, and says, that the magi who came to adore 

VOL. I. E 


Jesus Christ at Bethlehem, wishing to perform their 
accustomed operations, not being able to succeed, a 
superior power preventing the effect and imposing 
silence on the demon, they sought out the cause, and 
beheld at the same time a divine sign in the heavens, 
whence they concluded that it was the Being spoken of 
by Balaam, and that the new King whose birth he had 
predicted was born in Judea, and immediately they 
resolved to go and seek him. Origen believes that 
magicians, according to the rules of their art, often 
foretell the future, and that their predictions are fol- 
lowed by the event, unless the power of God, or that 
of the angels, prevents the effect of their conjurations, 
and puts them to silence." 

" The fables of Jason and many others of the same class are said by 
Fortuitus Comes to have a reference to alchemy. 



St. Augustine^ remarks, that not only the poets, 
but the historians even, relate that Dlomede, of whom 
the Greeks have made a divinity, had not the happiness 
to return to his country with the other princes who had 
been at the siege of Troy ; that his companions were 
changed into birds, and that these birds have their 
dwelling in the environs of the Temple of Diomede, 
which is situated near Mount Garganos; that these 
birds caress the Greeks who come to visit this temple, 
but fly at and peck the strangers who arrive there. 

Varro, the most learned of Romans, to render this 
more credible, relates what everybody knows about 
Circe, who changed the companions of Ulysses into 
beasts ; and what is said of the Arcadians, who, after 
ha^dng drawn lots, swam over a certain lake, after 
which they were metamorphosed into wolves, and ran 
about in the forests like other wolves. If durino; the 
time of their transmutation they did not eat human 
flesh, at the end of nine years they repassed the same 
lake, and resumed their former shape. 

* Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib. xviii. c. 16 — IS. 
E 2 


The same Varro relates of a certain Demenotas, that, 
having tasted the flesh of a child which the Arcadians 
had immolated to their god Lyc£ea, he had also been 
changed into a wolf, and ten years after he had resumed 
his natural form, had appeared at the Olympic games, 
and won the prize for pugilism. 

St. Augustine testifies, that in his time many believed 
that these transformations still took place, and some 
persons even affirmed that they had experienced them 
in their own persons. He adds, that w^hen in Italy, he 
was told that certain women gave cheese to strangers 
who lodged at their houses, when these strangers were 
immediately changed into beasts of burden, without 
losino- their reason, and carried the loads which were 
placed upon them ; after which they returned to their 
former state. He says, moreover, that a certain man, 
named Prasstantius, related that his father, having 
eaten of this magic cheese, remained lying in bed, 
without any one being able to av>'aken him, for several 
days, when he awoke, and said that he had been changed 
into a horse, and had carried victuals to the army ; and 
the thing was found to be true, although it appeared to 
him to be only a dream. 

St. Augustine, reasoning on all this, says, that either 
these things are false, or else so extraordinary that we 
cannot sfive faith to them. It is not to be doubted that 
God, by his almighty power, can do anything that he 
thinks proper, but that the devil, who is of a spiritual 
nature, can do nothing without tlie permission of God, 
w^hose decrees are always just ; that the demon can 
neither change the nature of the spirit or the body of 


a man, to transform him into a beast ; but that he can 
only act upon the fancy or imagination of a man, and 
persuade him that he is what he is not, or that he appears 
to others different from what he is ; or that he remains 
in a deep sleep, and believes during that slumber that 
he is bearing loads which the devil carries for him ; or 
that he (the devil) fascinates the eyes of those who 
believe they see them borne by animals, or by men 
metamorphosed into animals. 

If we consider it only a change arising from fancy or 
imagination, as it happens in the disorder called lycan- 
thropy, in which a man believes himself changed into a 
wolf, or into any other animal, as Nebuchadnezzar, who 
believed himself changed into an ox, and acted for 
seven years as if he had really been metamorphosed 
into that animal, there would be nothing in that more 
marvellous than what we see in hypochondriacs, who 
persuade themselves that they are kings, generals, 
popes, and cardinals ; that they are snow, glass, pot- 
tery, &c. Like him who, being alone at the theatre, 
believed that he beheld there actors and admirable 
representations ; or the man who imagined that all 
the vessels which arrived at the port of Pireus, near 
Athens, belonged to him; or, in short, what Ave see 
every day in dreams, and which appear to us very real 
during our sleep. In all this, it is needless to have 
recourse to the devil, or to magic, fascination, or 
illusion ; there is nothing above the natural order of 
tilings. But that, by means of certain beverages, 
certain herbs, and certain kinds of food, a person 
may disturb the imagination, and persuade another 


tliat he is a wolf, a horse, or an ass, appears more diffi- 
cult of explanation, although we are aware that plants, 
herbs, and medicaments possess great power over the 
bodies of men, and are capable of deranging the brain, 
constitution, and imagination. We have but too many 
examples of such things. 

Another circumstance, which, if true, deserves much 
reflection, is that of Apollonius of Tyana, who, being 
at Ephesus during a great plague which desolated the 
city, promised the Ephesians to cause the pest to cease 
the very day on which he was speaking to them, and 
which was that of his second arrival in their town. He 
assembled them at the theatre, and ordered them to stone 
to death a poor old man, covered with rags, who asked 
alms. " Strike,"" cried he, " that enemy of the gods ! 
heap stones upon him." They could not make up their 
minds to do so, for he excited their pity, and asked 
mercy in the most touching manner. But Apollonius 
pressed it so much, that at last they slew him, 
and amassed over him an immense heap of stones. 
A little while after he told them to take away these 
stones, and they would see what sort of an animal they 
had killed. They found only a great dog, and were 
convinced that this old man was only a phantom who 
had fascinated their eyes, and caused the pestilence in 
their town. 

We here see five remarkable things: — 1st, The 
demon who causes the plague in Ephesus ; 2d, This 
same demon, who, instead of a dog, causes the appear- 
ance of a man; 3d, The fascination of the senses of 
the Ephesians, who believe that they behold a man 


instead of a dog ; 4:thf The proof of the magic of Apol- 
lonius, who discovers the cause of this pestilence ; 
5th, and who makes it cease at the given time. 

^neas Sylvius Picolomini, who was afterwards 
Pope by the name of Pius II. writes, in his History of 
Bohemia, that a woman predicted to a soldier of King 
Wratislaus, that the army of that prince would be cut 
in pieces by the Duke of Bohemia, and that, if this 
soldier wished to avoid death, he must kill the first 
person he should meet on the road, cut off their ears, 
and put them in his pocket; that with the sword he 
had used to pierce them he must trace on the ground 
a cross between his horse's legs ; that he must kiss it, 
and then take flight. All this the young soldier per- 
formed. Wratislaus gave battle, lost it, and was killed. 
The young soldier escaped ; but on entering his house, 
he found that it was his wife whom he had killed and 
run his sword through, and whose ears he had cut off. 

This woman was, then, strangely disguised and 
metamorphosed, since her husband could not recognise 
her, and she did not make herself known to hmi in such 
perilous circumstances, when her life was in danger. 
These two were, then, apparently magicians ; both she 
who made the prediction, and the other on whom it was 
exercised. God permits, on this occasion, three great 
evils. The first magician counsels the murder of an 
innocent person; the young man commits it on his own 
Avife without knowing her ; and the latter dies in a 
state of condemnation, since by the secrets of magic she 
had rendered it impossible to recognise her. 

A butcher's wife of the town of Jena, in the duchy 


of Wiemar in Thuringia, ^ having refused to let an old 
woman have a calf's head for which she offered very- 
little, the old woman went away grumbling and 
mutterino;. A little time after this the butcher's wife 
felt violent pains in her head. As the cause of this 
malady was unknown to the cleverest physicians, they 
could find no remedy for it : from time to time a 
substance like brains came from this woman's left ear, 
and at first it was supposed to be her own brain. But 
as she suspected that old woman of having cast a spell 
upon her on account of the calf's head, they examined 
the thing more minutely, and they saw that these were 
calf s brains ; and what strengthened this opinion was, 
that splinters of calf's-head bones came out with the 
brains. This disorder continued some time ; at last the 
butcher's wife was perfectly cured. This happened in 
1685. M. Hoifman, who relates this story in his dis- 
sertation on the Power of the Demon over Bodies, printed 
in 1736, says that the woman was perhaps still alive. 

One day they brought to St. Macarius the Egyptian 
a virtuous woman who had been transformed into a 
mare, by the pernicious arts of a magician. Her 
husband, and all those who saw her, thought that she 
really was changed into a mare. This woman remained 
three days and three nights without tasting any food, 
proper either for man or horse. They showed her to 
the priests of the place, who could apply no remedy. 

Then they led her to the cell of St. Macarius, to 
whom God had revealed that she was to come ; his 
disciples wanted to send l\er back, thinking that it was 
'' Frederici Hoffman, de Dialjoli Potentia in Corpora, p. 382. 


a mare. They informed the saint of her arrival, and 
the subject of her journey. " He said to them, You are 
downright animals yourselves, thinking you see what 
is not ; that woman is not changed, but your eyes are 
fascinated. At the same time he sprinkled holy water 
on the woman's head, and all present beheld her in her 
former state. He gave her something to eat, and sent 
her away safe and sound with her husband. As he 
sent her away the saint said to her. Do not keep from 
church, for this has happened to you for having been 
five weeks without taking the Sacrament of our Lord, 
or attendinsf divine service." 

St. Hilarion, much in the same manner, cured by 
virtue of holy water a young girl, w^hom a magician had 
rendered most violently amorous of a young man. The 

demon who possessed her cried aloud to St. Hilarion, 


" You make me endure the most cruel torments, for I 
cannot come out till the young man who caused me to 
enter shall unloose me, for I am enchained under the 
threshold of the door by a band of copper covered with 
magical characters, and by the tow which envelopes it." 
Then St. Hilarion said to him, " Truly your power is 
very great, to suffer yourself to be bound by a bit of 
copper and a little thread ; " at the same time, without 
permitting these' things to be taken from under the 
threshold of the door, he chased away the demon and 
cured the girl. 

In the same place, St. Jerome relates that one 
Italicus, a citizen of Gaza and a Christian, who brought 
up horses for the games in the Circus, had a pagan 
antagonist who hindered and held back the horses of 



Italicus in their course, and gave most extraordinary 
celerity to his own. Italicus came to St. Hilarion, and 
told him the subject he had for uneasiness. The saint 
laughed and said to him, " Would it not be better to 
give the value of your horses to the poor, rather than 
employ them in such exercises?" — " I cannot do as I 
please," said Italicus; "it is a public employment which 
I fill, because I cannot help it, and as a Christian I 
cannot employ malpractices against those used against 
me." The brothers, who were present, interceded for 
him ; and St. Hilarion gave him the earthen vessel out 
of which he drank, filled it with water, and told him 
to sprinkle his horses with it. Italicus not only 
sprinkled his horses with this water, but likewise his 
stable and chariot all over ; and the next day the horses 
and chariot of this rival were left far behind his own ; 
which caused the people to shout in the theatre, 
" Marnas is vanquished — Jesus Christ is victorious !" 
And this victory of Italicus produced the conversion of 
several persons at Gaza. 

Will it be said that this is only the effect of ima- 
gination, prepossession, or the trickery of a clever 
charlatan ? How can you persuade fifty people that a 
woman who is present before their eyes can be changed 
into a mare, supposing that she has retained her own 
natural shape ? How was it that the soldier mentioned 
by ^neas Sylvius did not recognise his wife, whom he 
pierced with his sword, and whose ears he cut off? 
How did Apollonius of Tyana persuade the Ephesians 
to kill a man, w^ho really was only a dog ? How did he 
know that this dog, or tliis man, was the cause of the 


pestilence which afflicted Ephesus ? It is then very 
credible that the evil spirit often acts on bodies, on the 
air, the earth, and on animals, and produces effects 
which appear above the power of man. 

It is said that in Lapland they have a school for 
magic, and that fathers send their children to it, being 
persuaded that magic is necessary to them, that they 
may avoid falling into the snares of their enemies, 
who are themselves great magicians. They make the 
familiar demons, whose services they command, pass as 
an inheritance to their children, that they may make use 
of them to overcome the demons of other families who 
are adverse to their own. They often make use of a 
certain kind of drum for their magical operations ; for 
instance, if they wish to know v/hat is passing in a 
foreign country, one amongst them beats this drum, 
placing upon it at the part where the image of the sun 
is represented, a quantity of pewter rings attached 
together with a chain of the same metal; then they 
strike the drum with a forked hammer made of bone, 
so that these rings move ; at the same time they sing 
distinctly a song, called by the Laplanders Jonh ; and all 
those of their nation who are present, men and women, 
add their own songs, expressing from time to time the 
name of the place whence they desire to have news. 

The Laplander having beaten the drum for some 
time, places it on his head in a certain manner, and 
falls down directly motionless on the ground, and 
without any sign of life. All the men and all the 
women continue singing, till he revives ; if they cease 
to sing, the man dies, w^hich happens also if any one 


tries to awaken him by touching his hand or his foot. 
They even keep the flies from him, which by their 
humming mio;ht awaken him and brino; him back to 

When he is recovered he replies to the questions 
they ask him concerning the place he has been at. 
Sometimes he does not awake for four-and- twenty 
hours, sometimes more, sometimes less, according to 
the distance he has gone ; and in confirmation of what 
he says, and of the distance he has been, he brings 
back from the place he has been sent to, the token 
demanded of him, a knife, a ring, shoes, or some other 

These same Laplanders make use also of this drum, 
to learn the cause of any malady, or to deprive their 
enemies of their life or their strength. Moreover, 
amongst them are certain magicians, who keep in a kind 
of leathern game-bag magic flies, which they let loose 
from time to time ascainst their enemies or asrainst their 
cattle, or simply to raise tempests and hurricanes. 
They have also a sort of dart which they hurl into the 
air, and which causes the death of any one it falls upon. 
They have also a sort of little ball called tyre, almost 
round, which they send in the same way against their 
enemies to destroy them ; and if by ill luck this ball 
should hit on its way some other person, or some 
animal, it will inevitably cause its death. 

Who can be persuaded that the Laplanders who sell 

" See John Schesser, Laponia, printed at Frankfort in 4to. an. 1673, 
chap. xi. entitled, De sacris Magicis et Magia Laponia, p. 119, and 


fair winds, raise storms, relate what passes in distant 
places, where they go, as they say, in the spirit, and 
bring back things which they have found there, — who 
can persuade themselves that all this is done without 
the aid of magic ? It has been said that in the 
circumstance of ApoUonius of Tyana, they contrived to 
send away the man all squalid and deformed, and put 
in his place a dog which was stoned, or else they sub- 
stituted a dead dog. All which would require a vast 
deal of preparation, and would be very difficult to 
execute in sight of all the people : it would perhaps be 
better to deny the fact altogether, which certainly does 
appear very fabulous, than to have recourse to such 



Were we to believe what is said by the poets con- 
cerning the effects of magic, and what the magicians 
boast of being able to perform by their spells, no- 
thing would be more marvellous than their art, and 
we should be obliged to acknowledge that the power of 
the demon was greatly shown thereby. Pliny'^ relates, 
that Appian evoked the spirit of Homer, to learn from 
him which was his country, and who were his parents. 
Philostratus says,^ that Apollonius of Tyana went to 
the tomb of Achilles, evoked his manes, and implored 
them to cause the figure of that hero to appear to him ; 
the tomb trembled, and afterwards he beheld a young- 
man, who at first appeared about five cubits, or seven 
feet and a half high — after which, the phantom dilated 
to twelve cubits, and appeared of a singular beauty. 
Apollonius asked him some frivolous questions, and as 
the young man jested indecently with him, he compre- 
hended that he was possessed by a demon ; this demon 
he expelled, and cured the young man. But all this is 

" Plin. lib. iii. c. 2. ^' riiilost. Yit- Apollon. 


Lactantius/ refuting the philosophers Democritus, 
Epicurus, and Dicearchus^ who denied the immortality 
of the soul, says, they would not dare to maintain their 
opinion before a magician, who, by the power of his 
art, and by his spells, possessed the secret of bringing 
souls from Hades, of making them appear, speak, and 
foretell the future, and give certain signs of their 

St. Augustine,^ always circumspect in his decisions, 
dare not pronounce whether magicians possess the 
power of evoking the spirits of saints by the might of 
their enchantments. But Tertullian ^ is bolder, and 
maintains that no magical art has power to bring the 
souls of the saints from their rest ; but that all the ne- 
cromancers can do, is to call forth some phantoms with 
a borrowed shape, which fascinate the eyes, and make 
those who are present believe that to be a reality 
which is only appearance. In the same place he quotes 
Heraclius, who says, that the Nasamones, people ' of 
Africa, pass the night by the tombs of their near 
relations to receive oracles from the latter ; and that 
the Celts, or Gauls, do the same thing in the mauso- 
leums of great men, as related by Meander. 

Lucan says,^ that the magicians by their spells 
cause thunder in the skies unknown to Jupiter ; that 
they tear the moon from her sphere, and precipitate her 
to earth; that they disturb the course of nature, 
})rolong the nights, and shorten the days; that the 

" Lactant, lib. vi. Divin. Instit. c. 13. 

^ Aug. ad Simplic. •= Tertull. de Anima, c. 57. 

^ Lucan. Pharsal. lib. vi. 450, et scq. 


universe is obedient to their voice, and that the world 
is chilled as it were when they speak and command. « 
They were so well persuaded that the magicians pos- 
sessed power to make the moon come down from the 
sky, and they so truly believed that she was evoked 
by magic art whenever she was eclipsed, that they 
made a great noise by striking on copper vessels, to 
prevent the voice which pronounced enchantments from 
reaching her.^ 

These popular opinions and poetical fictions deserve 
no credit, but they show the force of prejudice/ It is 
affirmed that, even at this day, the Persians think they 
are assisting the moon when eclipsed, by striking 
violently on brazen vessels, and making a great uproar. 

Ovid^ attributes to the enchantments of magic, the 
evocation of the infernal powers, and their dismissal 
back to hell ; storms, tempests, and the return of fine 
weather. They attributed to it the power of changing 

e " Cessavere vices rerum, dilataque longa, 

Hsesit nocte dies ; legi non paruit aether ; 
Torpuit et preeceps audito carmine mundus ; 
Et tonat ignaro coelum Jove." 

^ " Cantat et e curro tentat deducere Lunam 

Et faceret, si non gera repulsa sonent." 

Tibull lib. i. Eleg. ix. 21. 

' Pietro della Valle, "Voyage. 

^ " . . . . Obscurum verborum ambage novorum 

Ter novies carmen magico demurmurat ore. ' 
Jam ciet infernas magico stridore catervaSj 
Jam jubet aspersum lacte referre pedem. 
Ciim libet, base tristi depellit nubila coelo ; 
Cum libet; sestivo provocat orbe nives." 

Ovid. Metamorpli. 14. 


men into beasts by means of certain herbs, the virtues 
of which are known to them.^ 

Virgil ^ speaks of serpents put to sleep and enchanted 
by the magicians. And Tibullus says, that he has 
seen the enchantress bring down the stars from heaven, 
and turn aside the thunderbolt ready to fall upon the 
earth — and that she has opened the ground and made 
the dead come forth from their tombs. 

As this matter allow^s of poetical ornaments, the 
poets have vied with each other in endeavouring to 
adorn their pages with them, not that they were con- 
vinced there was any truth in what they said; they 
were the first to laugh at it when an opportunity pre- 
sented itself, as well as the gravest and w^isest men of 
antiquity. But neither princes nor priests took much 
pains to undeceive the people, or to destroy their 
prejudices on those subjects. The Pagan religion 
allowed them, nay, authorized them, and part of its 
practices were founded on similar superstitions. 

' " [N'a'is nam ut cantu, nimiumque potentibus herbis 

Yerterit in tacitos juvenilia corpora pisces." 

»* " Vipereo generi et graviter spirantibus bydris 

Spargere qui somnos cantuque manuque solebat." 



If it were well proved that tlie oracles of Pagan 
antiquity were tlie work of the evil spirit, we could 
give more real and palpable proofs of the apparition of 
the demon among men than these boasted oracles, 
which were given in almost every country in the world, 
among the nations which passed for the wisest and 
most enlightened, as the Egyptians, Chaldeans, Per- 
sians, Syrians, even the Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. 
Even the most barbarous people were not without their 

In the Pagan religion, there was nothing esteemed 
more honourable, or more complacently boasted of. 

In all their great undertakings they had recourse to 
the oracle; by that was decided the most important 
affairs between town and town, or province and pro- 
vince. The manner in which the oracles were rendered, 
was not everywhere the same. It is said,'^ the bull 
Apis, wdiose worship was anciently established in 
Egypt, gave out his oracles on his receiving food from 
the hand of him who consulted. If he received it, 
say they, it was considered a good omen ; if he refused 
« Plin. lib. viii. e. 48. 


itj this was a bad augury. When this animal appeared 
in public, he was accompanied by a troop of children, 
who sang hymns in his honour ; after which these boys 
were filled with sacred enthusiasm, and began to predict 
future events. If the bull went quietly into his lodge, 
it was a happy sign ; ^' if he came out, it was the contrary. 
Such was the blindness of the Egyptians. 

There were other oracles also in Egypt : ^ as those of 
Mercury, Apollo, Hercules, Diana, Minerva, Jupiter 
Ammon, &c., which last was consulted by Alexander 
the Great. But Herodotus remarks, that in his time 
there were neither priests nor priestesses who uttered 
oracles. They were derived from certain presages, 
which they drew by chance, or from the movements of 
the statues of the gods, or from the first voice which 
they heard after having consulted. Pausanias says,^ 
that he who consults whispers in the ear of Mercury 
what he requires to know, then he stops his ears, goes 
out of the temple, and the first words which he hears 
from the first person he meets, are held as the answer 
of the god. 

The Greeks acknowledge that they received from 
the Egyptians both the names of their gods and their 
most ancient oracles ; amongst others that of Dodona, 
which was already much resorted to in the time of 
Homer,^ and which came from the oracle of Jupiter of 
Thebes: for the Egyptian priests related that two 
priestesses of that god had been carried off by 
Pha^nician merchants, who had sold them, one into 

'' Herodot. lib. ix. '^ Vide Joa.n. Marsliam, S^c. iv. pp. 62, 63. 

'' Pausau. lib. vii. p. 111. « Homer, Iliad, XII. 2, 235. 


Libya and the other into Greece/ Those of Dodona 
related^ that two black doves had flown from Thebes of 
Egypt — that the one which had stopped at Dodona 
had perched upon a beech-tree, and had declared in an 
articulate voice that the gods willed that an oracle of 
Jupiter should be established in this place ; and that 
the other, ha\^ng flown into Libya, had there formed 
or founded the oracle of Jupiter Ammon. These 
origins are certainly very frivolous and very fabulous. 
The oracle of Delphi is more recent and more cele- 
brated. Phemonoe was the first priestess of Delphi, 
and began in the time of Acrisius, twenty-seven years 
before Orpheus, Musebus, and Linus. She is said to 
have been the inventress of hexameters. 

But I think I can remark vestiges of oracles in 
Egypt, from the time of the patriarch Joseph, and 
from the time of Moses. The Hebrews had dwelt 
for 215 years in Egypt, and having multiplied there 
exceedingly, had begun to form a separate people 
and a sort of republic. They had imbibed a taste for 
the ceremonies, the superstitions, the customs, and the 
idolatry of the Egyptians. 

Joseph was considered the cleverest diviner and the 
greatest expounder of dreams in Egypt. They believed 
that he derived his oracles from the inspection of the 
liquor which he poured into his cup. Moses, to cure 
the Hebrews of their leaning to the idolatry and super- 
stitions of Egypt, prescribed to them laws and ceremo- 
nies which favoured his design ; the first, diametrically 
opposite to those of the Egyptians ; the second, bearing 
f Herodot. lib. ii. c. 52, 55. 


some resemblance to theirs in appearance, but differing 
both in their aim and circumstances. 

For instance, the Egyptians were accustomed to 
consult diviners, magicians, interpreters of dreams, and 
augurs ; all Avhich things are forbidden to the Hebrews 
by Moses, on pain of rigorous punishment ; but in 
order that they might have no room to complain that 
their religion did not furnish them with the means of 
discovering future events and hidden things, God, with 
condescension worthy of reverential admiration, granted 
them the Urim and Thummim, or the Doctrine and the 
Truth, with which the high priest was invested accord- 
ing to the ritual in the principal ceremonies of religion, 
and by means of which he rendered oracles, and dis- 
covered the will of the Most High. AYhen the ark of 
the covenant and the tabernacle were constructed, the 
Lord, consulted by Moses/ gave out his replies from 
between the two cherubim which were placed upon the 
mercy-seat above the ark. All which seems to in- 
sinuate, that from the time of the patriarch Joseph, 
there had been oracles and diviners in Egypt, and that 
the Hebrews consulted them. 

God promised his people, to raise up a prophet ^^ 
among them, who should declare to them his will : in 
fact, we see in almost all ages among them, prophets in- 
spired by God ; and the true prophets reproached them 
vehemently for their impiety, when instead of coming 
to the prophets of the Lord, they went to consult strange 
oracles,^ and divinities equally powerless and unreal. 

K Exod. sxv. 22. ^ Deut. xviii. 13. 

> 2 Kings i. 2, 3, 16, &c. 


We have spoken before of the teraphim of Laban, 
of the idols or pretended oracles of Micah and Gideon. 
King Saul, who, apparently by the advice of Samuel, 
had exterminated diviners and magicians from the land 
of Israel, desired in the last war to consult the Lord, 
who would not reply to him. He then afterwards 
addressed himself to a witch, who promised him she 
would evoke Samuel for him. She did, or feigned to 
do so, for the thing offers many difficulties, into which 
we shall not enter here. 

The same Saul having consulted the Lord on another 
occasion, to know whether he must pursue the Philis- 
tines whom he had just defeated, God refused also to 
reply to him,^ because his son Jonathan had tasted 
some honey, not knowing that the king had forbidden 
his army to taste any thing whatever before his enemies 
were entirely overthrown. 

The silence of the Lord on certain occasions, and his 
refusal to answer sometimes when He was consulted, 
are an evident proof that He usually replied, and that 
they were certain of receiving instructions from Him, 
unless they raised an obstacle to it by some action which 
was displeasing to Him. 

" 1 Sam. xiy. 24. 



Moses had foreseen, that so untractable and super- 
stitious a people as the Israelites would not rest 
satisfied with the reasonable, pious, and supernatural 
means which he had procured them for discovering 
future events, by giving them prophets and the oracle of 
the high priest. He knew that there would arise among 
them false prophets and seducers, who would endea- 
vour by their illusions and magical secrets to mislead 
them into error; whence it was that he said to them:^ 
"If there should arise among you a prophet, or any 
one who boasts of having had a dream, and he foretells 
a wonder, or any thing which surpasses the ordinary 
power of man, and what he predicts shall happen; 
and after that he shall say unto you. Come, let us go 
and serve the strange gods, which you have not known ; 
you shall not hearken unto him, because the Lord your 
God will prove you, to see whether you love Him with 
all your heart and with all your soul." 

Certainly, nothing is more likely to mislead us, than 
to see what has been foretold by any one come to pass. 

" Shew the things that are to come," says Isaiah,'* 
» Deut. xili. 1, 2. *» Isaiah xli. 22, 23. 


" that we may know that ye are gods. Let them come, 
let them foretell what is to happen, and what has been 
done of old, and w^e will believe in them," &c. Idoneum 
testimonium divinationis, says Tertullian,*^ Veritas divina- 
tionis. And St. Jerome,'^ Confitentur magi, conjitentur 
arioU, et omnis scientia scBcularis litteratura;, prcescientiam 
futurorum non esse hominum^ sed Dei. 

Nevertheless, we have just seen that Moses acknow- 
ledges that false prophets can predict things which will 
happen. And the Saviour warns us in the Gospel, 
that at the end of the world several false prophets will 
arise, Avho will seduce many ^ — " They shall shew great 
signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, 
they shall deceive even the elect." It is not, then, 
precisely either the successful issue of the event, which 
decides in favour of the false prophet — nor the default 
of the predictions made by true prophets, which proves 
that they are not sent by God. 

Jonah was sent to foretell the destruction of Nineveh,^ 
'which did not come to pass ; and many other threats of 
the prophets were not put into execution, because God, 
moved by the repentance of the sinful, revoked or com- 
muted his former sentence. The repentance of the 
Ninevites guaranteed them ascalnst the last misfortune. 

Isaiah had distinctlv foretold to Kino- Hezekiah," that 
he would not recover from his illness : " Set thine house 
in order, for thou shalt die, and not live." Nevertheless 
God, moved with the prayer of this prince, revoked the 

•= Tertull. Apolog. c. 20. ^ Hieronym. in Dan. 

« Matt. xxiv. 11, 24. ^ Jonah i. 2. 

^ 2 Kings XX. 1. Isai. xxxviii. 1. 


sentence of death ; and before the prophet had left the 
court of the king's house, God commanded him to 
return and tell the king, that God would add yet 
fifteen years to his life. 

Moses assigns the mark of a true prophet to be, 
when he leads us to God and his worship — and the 
mark of a false prophet is, when he withdraws us from 
the Lord, and inclines us to superstition and idolatry. 
Balaam was a true prophet inspired by God, who fore- 
told things which were followed up by the event ; but 
his morals were very corrupt, and he was extremely 
self-interested. He did every thing he could to deserve 
the recompense promised him by the king of Moab, 
and to curse and immolate Israel.^ God did not permit 
him to do so, he put into his mouth blessings instead 
of curses ; he did not induce the Israelites to forsake 
the Lord ; but he advised the Moabites to seduce the 
people of God, and cause them to commit fornication, 
and to worship the idols of the country, and by that 
means to irritate God against them, and draw upon 
them the effects of his vengeance. Moses caused the 
chiefs among the people, who had consented to this 
crime, to be hung ; and caused to perish the Midianites 
who had led the Hebrews into it. And lastly, Balaam, 
who was the first cause of this evil, was also punished 
with death.^ 

Li all the predictions of diviners or oracles, when 
they are followed by fulfilment, we can hardly disavow 
that the evil spirit intervenes, and discovers the future 
to those who consult him. St. Augustine in his book 

*" Numb. xxii. xxiii. xxiv. ' Numb. xxxi. 8. 

VOL. I. F 


de Divlnatione Dwmonum^ or of predictions made by 

the evil spirit, when they are fulfilled, supposes that the 

demons are of an aerial nature, and much more subtile 

than bodies in general; insomuch, that they surpass 

beyond comparison the lightness both of men and the 

swiftest animals, and even the flight of birds, which 

enables them to announce things that are passing in 

very distant places, and beyond the common reach of 

men. Moreover, as they are not subject to death as 

we are, they have acquired infinitely more experience 

than even those who possess the most among mankind, 

and are the most attentive to what happens in the 

world. By that means they can sometimes predict things 

to come, announce several things at a distance, and do 

some wonderful things ; which has often led mortals to 

pay them divine honours, believing them to be of a 

nature much more excellent than their own. 

But when we reflect seriously on what the demons 

predict, we may remark, that often they announce 

nothing but what they are to do themselves.^ For God 

permits them sometimes to cause maladies, corrupt the 

air and produce in it qualities of an infectious nature, 

and to incline the wicked to persecute the worthy. 

They perform these operations in a hidden manner, by 

resources unknown to mortals, and proportionate to 

the subtilty of their own nature. They can announce 

what they have foreseen must happen, by certain 

natural tokens unknown to men, like as a physician 

foresees by the secret of his art, the symptoms and 

•' Aug. de Divinat. Daemon, c. 3. pp. 507, 508, et seq. 
' Idem, c. 5. 


the consequences of a malady which no one else can. 
Thus, the demon, who knows our constitution and 
the secret tendency of our humours, can foretell the 
maladies which are the consequences of them. He 
can also discover our thoughts and our secret wishes, 
by certain external motions, and by certain expres- 
sions we let fall by chance, whence he infers that 
men would do or undertake certain things, consequent 
upon these thoughts or inclinations. 

But his predictions are far from being comparable 
with those revealed to us by God, through his angels, 
or the prophets ; these are always certain and in- 
fallible, because they have for their principle God, 
who is truth ; while the predictions of the demons are 
often deceitful, because the arrangements on which 
they are founded can be changed and deranged, when 
they least expect it, by unforeseen and unexpected 
circumstances, or by the authority of superior powers 
overthrowing the first plans, or by a peculiar disposi- 
tion of Providence, who sets bounds to the power of the 
prince of darkness. Sometimes also, demons purposely 
deceive those who have the weakness to place con- 
fidence in them. But usually, they throw the fault 
upon those who have taken on themselves to interpret 
their discourses and predictions. 

So says St. Augustine;™ and although we do not 
quite agree with him, but hold the opinion that 
souls, angels, and demons are disengaged from all 
matter or substance, still we can apply his reasoning to 

•" S. August, iu his Eetract. lib. ii. c. 30, owns that he advanced this 
too lightly. 

F 2 


evil spirits, even upon the supposition that they are 
immaterial — and own that sometimes they can predict 
the future, and that their predictions may be fuljQlled ; 
but that is not a proof of their being sent by God, or 
inspired by his Spirit. Even were they to work 
miracles, w^e must anathematize them, ^3 soon as they 
turn us from the worship of the true God, or incline us 
to irregular lives. 



If it is true, as has been thought by many, both among 
the ancients and the modern s^ that the oracles of Pagan 
antiquity were only illusions and deceptions on the 
part of the priests and priestesses, who said that they 
were possessed by the spirit of Python, and filled with 
the inspiration of Apollo, who discovered to them 
internally things hidden and past, or present and future, 
I must not place them here in the rank of evil spirits. 
The devil has no other share in the matter than he has 
always in the crimes of men, and in that multitude 
of sins which cupidity, ambition, interest, and self-love 
produce in the world ; the demon being always ready 
to seize an occasion to mislead us, and draw us into irre- 
gularity and error, employing all our passions to lead us 
into these snares. If what he has foretold is followed by 
fidfilment, either by chance, or because he has foreseen 
certain circumstances unknown to men, he takes to him- 
self all the credit of it, and makes use of it to gain our 
confidence and conciliate credit for his predictions ; if 
the thing is doubtful, and he knows not what the issue 
of it will be, the demon, the priest or priestess, will 


pronounce an equivocal oracle, in order that at all 
events they may appear to have spoken true. 

The ancient legislators of Greece, the most skilful 
politicians, and generals of armies, dexterously made use 
of the prepossession of the people in favour of oracles, 
to persuade them that what they had concerted was 
approved of by the gods, and announced by the oracle. 
These things and these oracles were often followed by 
success, not because the oracle had predicted or ordained 
it, but because the enterprise being well concerted and 
well conducted, and the soldiers also perfectly persuaded 
that God was on their side, fought with more than 
ordinary valour. Sometimes they gained over the 
priestess by the aid of presents, and thus disposed her 
to o^ive favourable replies. Demosthenes harano-uino; 
at Athens against Pliilip, king of Macedon, said, that 
the priestess of Delphi Philippised, and only pronounced 
oracles conformable to the inclinations, advantage, and 
interest of that prince. 

Porphyry, the greatest enemy of the Christian name,^ 
makes no difficulty of owning that these oracles were 
dictated by the spirit of falsehood, and that the demons 
are the true authors of enchantments, philtres, and 
spells ; that they fascinate or deceive the eyes by the 
spectres and phantoms which they cause to appear ; that 
they ambitiously desire to pass for gods ; that their 
aerial and spiritual bodies are nourished by the smell 
and smoke of the blood and fat of the animals which 
are immolated to them ; and that the office of uttering 
oracles replete with falsehood, equivocation, and deceit, 
■* Porphyr. apud Euseb. de Praspar. Evang. lib. iv. c. 5, 6. 


has devolved uj)oii them. At the head of these demons 
he places Hecate and Serapis, Jamblichus, another pagan 
author, speaks of them in the same manner, and with 
as much contempt. 

The ancient fathers who lived so near the times when 
these oracles existed, several of whom had forsaken 
paganism and embraced Christianity, and who conse- 
quently knew more about the oracles than we can, 
speak of them as things invented, governed, and 
maintained by the demons. The most sensible among 
the heathens do not speak of them otherwise, but also 
they confess that often the malice, imposition, servility 
and interest of the priests had great share in the matter, 
and that they abused the simplicity, credulity and 
prepossessions of the people. 

Plutarch says,'^ that a governor of Cilicia having sent 
to consult the oracle of Mopsus, as he was going to 
Malle in the same country, the man who carried the 
billet fell asleep in the temple, where he saw in a dream a 
handsome looking man, who said to him the single word 
blacJc. He carried this reply to the governor, whose 
mysterious question he knew nothing about. Those 
who heard this answer laughed at it, not knowing what 
was the in billet: but the governor having opened it 
showed. them these words written in it; Shall limmolate 
to thee a black ox, or a ichite one ? and that the oracle 
had thus answered his question without opening the note. 
But who can answer for their not having; deceived the 
bearer of the billet in this case, as did Alexander of 
Abonotiche, a town of Paphlagonia, in Asia Minor. 
^ Plutarcli. de Defectu Oracul. p. 434. 


This man had the art to persuade the people of his 
country, that he had with him the god Esculapius, in 
the shape of a tame serpent, who pronounced oracles, 
and replied to the consultations addressed to him on 
divers diseases, without opening the billets they placed 
on the altar of the temple of this pretended divinity ; 
after which, without opening them, they found the next 
morning the reply written below. All the trick con- 
sisted in the seal being raised artfully by a heated 
needle, and then replaced after having written the reply 
at the bottom of the note, in an obscure and enigmatical 
style, after the manner of other oracles. At other 
times he used mastic, which being yet soft, took the im- 
pression of the seal, then when that was hardened he put 
on another seal with the same impression. He received 
about ten sols (five-pence) per billet, and this game 
lasted all his life, which was a long one ; for he died at 
the age of seventy, being struck by lightning, near the 
end of the second century of the Christian era: all which 
may be found more at length in the book of Lucian 
entitled, Pseiido Manes, or the false Diviner. The priest 
of the oracle of Mopsus could by the same secret open 
the billet of the governor who consulted him, and 
showing himself during the night to the messenger, 
declare to him the above-mentioned reply. 

Macrobius'^ relates that the Emperor Trajan, to prove 
the oracle of Heliopolis in Phoenicia, sent him a well 
sealed letter in which nothing was written ; the oracle 
commanded that a blank letter should also be sent to 
the emperor. The priests of the oracle were much 
= Macrob. Saturnal. lib. i. c. 23. 


surprised at this, not knowing the reason of it. 
Another time the same emperor sent to consult this 
same oracle, to know whether he should return safe 
from his expedition against the Parthians. The oracle 
commanded that they should send him some branches 
of a knotted vine, which was sacred in his temple. 
Neither the emperor nor any one else could guess what 
that meant ; but his body, or rather his bones, having 
been brought to Rome after his death, which happened 
during his journey, it was supposed that the oracle had 
intended to predict his death, and designate his fleshless 
bones, which somewhat resemble the branches of a vine. 
It is easy to explain this quite otherwise. If he had 
returned victorious, the vine being the source of wine 
which rejoices the heart of man, and is agreeable to 
both gods and men, would have typified his victory, — 
and if the expedition had proved fruitless, the wood of 
the vine, which is useless for any kind of work, and 
only good for burning as firewood, might in that case 
signify the inutility of this expedition. It is allowed 
that the artifice, malice, and inventions of the heathen 
priests had much to do with the oracles, but are we 
to infer from this that the demon had no part in the 

We must allow that as by degrees the light of the 
gospel Avas spread in the world, the reign of the demon, 
ignorance, corruption of morals, and crime, diminished. 
The priests who pretended to predict, by the inspiration 
of the evil spirit, things concealed from mortal know- 
ledge, or who misled the people by their illusions and 
impostures, were obliged to confess that the Christians 

ff 3 


imposed silence on them, either by the empire they 
exercised over the devil, or else by discovering the 
malice and knavishness of the priests, which the people 
had not dared to sound, from a blind respect which they 
had for this mystery of iniquity. 

If in our days any one would deny that in former 
times there were oracles which were rendered by the 
inspiration of the demon, we might convince him of it 
by what is still practised in Lapland, and by what 
Missionaries'^ relate, that in India the demon reveals 
things hidden and to come, not by the mouth of 
idols, but by that of the priests, who are present w^hen 
they interrogate either the statues or the demon. And 
they remark that there the demon becomes mute and 
powerless, in proportion as the light of the gospel is 
spread among these nations. Thus then the silence of 
the oracles may be attributed — 1. To a superhuman 
cause, which is the power of Jesus Christ, and the 
publication of the gospel. 2. Mankind are become 
less superstitious, and bolder in searching out the cause 
of these pretended revelations. 3. To their having 
become less credulous, as Cicero says.^ 4. Because 
princes have imposed silence on the oracles, fearing 
that they might inspire the nation with rebellious 
principles. For which reason Lucan says, that princes 
feared to discover the future.^ 

•' Lettres edifiantes, torn. x. 
*= Cicero, de Divinat. lib. ii. c. 57. 
^ " Reges timent futura 

Et superos vetant loqui."' 

Lucan. Pharsal. lib. v. p. 112. 


Strabo= conjectures that the Komans neglected them, 
because they had the Sibylline books, and their auspices 
(aruspices or haruspices,) which stood them instead of 
oracles. M. Vandale demonstrates that some remains 
of the oracles might yet be seen under the Christian 
emperors. It was then only in process of time that 
oracles were entirely abolished, and it may be boldly 
asserted that sometimes the evil spirit revealed the 
future, and inspired the ministers of false gods, by 
permission of the Almighty, w^ho wished to punish the 
confidence of the infidels in their idols. It w^ould be 
going too far, if we affirmed that all that w^as said of 
the oracles was only the effect of the artifices or the 
malice of the priests, who always imposed on the credu- 
lity of mankind. Read on this subject, the learned 
reply of Father Balthus to the treatises of MM. 
Vandale and Fontenelle. 

^ Strabo, lib. xvii. 



The empire of the devil nowhere shines forth with 
more lustre than in what is related of the Sabbath 
(witches' sabbath or assembly), where he receives the 
homage of those of both sexes who have abandoned 
themselves to him. It is there, the wizards and witches 
say, that he exercises the greatest authority, and ap- 
pears in a visible form, but always hideous, misshapen, 
and terrible; always during the night in out-of-the- 
way places, and arrayed in a manner more gloomy 
than gay, rather sad and dull, than majestic and bril- 
liant. If they pay their adoration in that place to 
the prince of darkness, he shows himself there in a 
despicable posture, and in a base, contemptible and 
hideous form; if people eat there, the viands of the 
feast are dirty, insipid, and destitute of solidity and 
substance, they neither satisfy the appetite, nor please 
the palate; if they dance there, it is without order, 
without skill, without propriety. 

To endeavour to give a description of the infernal 
sabbath, is to aim at describing what has no existence 
and never has existed, except in the craving and deluded 

THE witches' sabbath. 109 

imagination of sorcerers and sorceresses ; the paintings 
we have of it are conceived after the reveries of those 
who fancy they have been transported through the air 
to the sabbath, both in body and soul. 

People are carried thither, say they, sitting on a 
broom-stick, sometimes on the clouds or on a he-goat. 
Neither the place, the time, nor the day when they 
assemble is fixed. It is sometimes in a lonely forest, 
sometimes in a desert, usually on the Wednesday or 
the Thursday night ; the most solemn of all is that of 
the eve of St. John the Baptist : they there distribute 
to every sorcerer, the ointment with which he must 
anoint himself when he desires to go to the sabbath, 
and the spell-powder he must make use of in his 
magic operations. They must all appear together in 
this general assembly, and he who is absent is severely 
ill-used both in word and deed. As to the private 
meetings, the demon is more indulgent to those who 
are absent for some particular reason. 

As to the ointment with which they anoint them- 
selves, some authors, amongst others, John Baptista 
Porta, and John Wierius,^ boast that they know the 
composition. Amongst other ingredients there are 
many narcotic drugs, which cause those who make use 
of it to fall into a profound slumber, during which they 
imagine that they arc carried to the sabbath up the 
chimney, at the top of which they find a tall black man,^ 
with horns, who transports them where they wish to go, 

* Joan. Yier. lib. ii. c. 7. 

^ A remarkably fine Print on this subject was published at Paris 
some years ago ; if we remember right, it was suppressed. 


and afterwards brings them back again by the same 
chimney. The accounts given by these people, and 
the description which they give of their assemblies, are 
wanting in unity and uniformity. 

The demon, their chief, appears there, either in the 
shape of a he-goat, or as a great black dog, or as an 
immense raven ; he is seated on an elevated throne, 
and receives there the homage of those present in a 
way which decency does not allow us to describe. In 
this nocturnal assembly they sing, they dance, they 
abandon themselves to the most shameful disorder; 
they sit down to table, and indulge in good cheer ; 
while at the same time they see on the table neither 
knife nor fork, salt nor oil ; they find the viands devoid 
of savour, and quit the table without their hunger being 

One would imagine that the attraction of a better 
fortune, and a wish to enrich themselves, drew thither 
men and women; the devil never fails to make them 
magnificent promises, at least the sorcerers say so, 
and believe it, deceived, without doubt, by their 
imagination ; but experience shows us that these 
people are always ragged, despised, and wretched, and 
usually end their lives in a violent and dishonourable 

When they are admitted for the first time to the 
sabbath, the demon inscribes their name and surname 
on his register, which he makes them sign ; then he 
makes them forswear cream and baptism, makes them 
renounce Jesus Christ and his Church; and, to give 
them a distinctive character and make them known 

THE witches' saebath. Ill 

for his own, he imprints on their bodies a certain 
mark with the nail of the little finger of one of his 
hands; this mark, or character, thus impressed, renders 
the part insensible to pain. They even pretend that he 
impresses this character in three different parts of the 
body, and at three different times. The demon does 
not impress these characters, say they, before the 
person has attained the age of twenty-five. 

But none of these things deserve the least attention. 
There may happen to be in the body of a man, or a 
woman, some benumbed part, either from illness, or 
the effect of remedies, or drugs, or even naturally ; 
but that is no proof that the devil has anything to 
do with it. There are even persons accused of magic 
and sorcery, on whom no part thus characterised has 
been found, nor yet insensible to the touch, however 
exact the search. Others have declared that the 
devil has never made any such marks upon them. 
Consult on this matter the second letter of M. de 
St. Andre, Physician to the King, in which he well 
develops what has been said about these characters of 

The word Sabbath, taken in the above sense, is not to 
be found in ancient writers ; neither the Hebrews nor 
the Egyptians, the Greeks nor the Latins, have 
known it. 

The thing itself, I mean the sabbath taken in the 
sense of a nocturnal assembly of persons devoted to the 
devil, is not remarked in antiquity, although magicians, 
sorcerers, and witches are spoken of often enough — 
that is to say, people who boasted that they exercised 


a kind of power over the devil, and by his means, over 
animals, the air, the stars, and the lives and fortunes of 

Horace ^ makes use of the word coticia to indicate 
the nocturnal meetings of the magicians — Tii riseris 
coticia ; which he derives from Cotys or CottOf Goddess of 
Vice, who presided in the assemblies which were held 
at nighty and where the Bacchantes gave themselves 
up to all sorts of dissolute pleasures ; but this is very 
different from the witches' sabbath. 

Others derive this term from Sabbatius, which is an 
epithet given to the god Bacchus, whose nocturnal 
festivals were celebrated in debauchery. Arnobius, and 
Julius Firmicus Maternus, inform us that in these festi- 
vals they slipped a golden serpent into the bosoms of 
the initiated, and drew it downwards ; but this 
etymology is too far-fetched ; the people who gave the 
name of sabbath to the assemblies of the sorcerers, 
wished apparently to compare them in derision to those 
of the Jews, and to Avhat they practised in their syna- 
gogues on sabbath days. 

The most ancient monument in which I have been 
able to remark any express mention of the nocturnal 
assemblies of the sorcerers is in the Capitularies/ 
wherein it is said that women led away by the illusions 

<= Horat. Epodon, xviii. 4. 

^ "Qusedam sceleratse mulieres daemonum illusionibus et phantas- 
matibus seductse, credunt se et profitentur nocturnis horis cum Diana, 
Pdganorum dea et innumerS, multitudine mulierum equitare super 
quasdam bestias et multa terrarum spalia intempestge noctis silentio 
pertransire ejusque jussionibus veluti domino obedire." — Baluz. Capi- 
tular, fragment, c. 13. Vide et Capitul. Herardi, Episc. Turon. 


of the demons, say that they go In the night with the 
goddess Diana and an infinite number of other women, 
borne through the air on different animals, that they 
go in a few hours a great distance, and obey Diana 
as their queen. It was therefore to the goddess Diana, 
or the Moon, and not to Lucifer, that they paid 
homage. The Germans call witches' dances what we 
call the sabbath. They say that these people assemble 
on Mount Bructere. 

The famous Agobard,^ Archbishop of Lyons, who 
lived under the Emperor Louis the Debonair, wrote a 
treatise against certain superstitious persons in his time, 
who believed that storms, hail, and thunder were 
caused by certain sorcerers whom they called tem- 
pesters, {tempestarios, or storm-brewers,) who raised 
the rain in the air, caused storms and thunder, and 
brought sterility upon the earth. They called these 
extraordinary rains aura lai'atitia) as if to indicate that 
they were raised by magic power. In this place the 
people still call these violent rains ahace. There 
were even persons sufficiently prejudiced to boast 
that they knew of tempetiers, who had to conduct the 
tempests where they chose, and to turn them aside 
when they pleased. Agobard interrogated some of 
them, but they were obliged to own that they had 
not been present at the things they related. 

Agobard maintains that this is the work of God 
alone ; that in truth, the saints, with the help of God, 
have often performed similar prodigies ; but that neither 
* Affobard de Grandine. 


the devil nor sorcerers can do anything like It. He 
remarks that there were among his people, superstitious 
persons, who would pay very punctually what they 
called canonicum, which was a sort of tribute which they 
offered to these tempest-brewers, {tempttiers,) that they 
might not hurt them, while they refused the tithe to the 
priest, and alms to the widow, orphan, and other indigent 

He adds, that he had of late found people sufficiently 
foolish enough to spread a report that Grimaldus, Duke 
of Benevento, had sent persons into France, carrying 
certain powders which they had scattered over the fields, 
mountains, meadows and springs, and had thus caused 
the death of an immense number of animals. Several 
of these persons were taken up, and they owned that 
they carried such powders about with them, and though 
they made them suffer various tortures, they could not 
force them to retract what they had said. 

Others affirmed that there was a certain country 
named Mangonia, where there were vessels which were 
borne through the air and took away the productions ; 
that certain wizards had cut down trees to carry them 
to their country. He says, moreover, that one day three 
men and a woman were presented to him, who they 
said had fallen from these ships which floated in the 
air. They were kept some days in confinement, 
and at last havins; been confronted with their accusers, 
the latter were obliged, after contesting the matter, 
and making several depositions, to avow that they 
knew nothino; certain concernino; their belno^ carried 


away, or of their pretended fall from the ship in 
the sky. 

Charlemagne^ in his Capitularies, and the authors of 
his time, speak also of these wizard tempest-brewers, 
enchanters, &c., and commanded that they should be 
reprimanded and severely chastised. 

Pope Gregory IX. s in a letter addressed to the 
Archbishop of Mayence, the Bishop of Hildesheim, and 
Doctor Conrad, in 1234, thus relates the abominations 
of which they accused the heretic Stadingians. " When 
they receive," says he, " a novice, and when he enters 
their assemblies for the first time, he sees an enormous 
toad, as big as a goose, or bigger. Some kiss it on the 
mouth, some kiss it behind. Then the novice meets 
a pale man with very black eyes, and so thin that he is 
only skin and bones. He kisses him, and feels that he 
is cold as ice. After this kiss, the novice easily forgets 
the Catholic faith ; afterwards they hold a feast 
together, after which a black cat comes down behind 
a statue, which usually stands in the room where they 

" The novice first of all kisses the cat on the back, 
then he who presides over the assembly, and the others 
who are worthy of it. The imperfect receive only 
a kiss from the master ; they promise obedience ; after 
Avhich they extinguish the lights, and commit all sorts 
of disorders. They receive every year, at Easter, the 
Lord's Body, and carry it in their mouth to their 
own houses, when they cast it away. They believe in 

f Vide Baluzii in Agobard. pp. 68, 69. 

^ Fleury, Hist. Eccles. torn. xvii. p. 58. ann. 1234. 


Lucifer, and say that the Master of Heaven has un- 
justly and fraudulently thrown him into hell. They 
believe also that Lucifer is the creator of celestial 
things, that will re-enter into glory, after having 
thrown down his adversary, and that through him 
they will gain eternal bliss." This letter bears date 
the 13th of June, 1233. 



All that is said about witches going to the sabbath is 
treated as a fable, and we have several examples which 
prove that they do not stir from their bed or their 
chamber. It is true that some of them anoint them- 
selves with a certain grease or unguent, which makes 
them sleepy, and renders them insensible; and during 
this swoon they fancy that they go to the sabbath, and 
there see and hear what every one says is there seen 
and heard. 

We read in the book entitled Malleus Maleficorum, or 
the Hammer of the Sorcerers, that a woman who was in 
the hands of the Inquisitors assured them that she 
repaired really and bodily whither she would, and that 
even were she shut up in prison and strictly guarded, 
and let the place be ever so far off. 

The Inquisitors ordered her to go to a certain place, 
to speak to certain persons, and bring back news of 
them ; she promised to obey, and was directly locked 
up in a chamber, where she laid down, extended as if 
dead; they went into the room, and moved her; but she 
remained motionless, and without the least sensation, 
so that when they put a lighted candle to her foot and 


burnt it she did not feel it. A little after, she came to 
herself, and gave an account of the commission they 
had given her, saying she had had a great deal of 
trouble to go that road. They asked her what was the 
matter with her foot ; she said it hurt her very much 
since her return, and knew not whence it came. 

Then the Inquisitors declared to her what had hap- 
pened; that she had not stirred from her place, and 
that the pain in her foot was caused by the application 
of a lighted candle during her pretended absence. The 
thing ha\dng been verified, she acknowledged her folly, 
asked pardon, and promised never to fall into it again. 

Other historians relate,^ that, by means of certain 
drugs with which both wizards and watches anoint 
themselves, they are really and corporally transported 
to the sabbath. Torquemada relates, on the autliority 
of Paul Grilland, that a husband suspecting his wife of 
being a witch, desired to know if she went to the sab- 
bath, and how she managed to transport herself thither. 
He watched her so narrowly, that he saw her one 
day anoint herself with a certain unguent, and then 
take the form of a bird and fly away, and he sa\v^ her 
no more till the next morning, when he found her by 
his side. He questioned her very much, without 
making her own anything ; at last he told her what he 
had himself seen, ^nd by dint of beating her with a 
stick, he constrained her to tell him her secret, and to 
take him with her to the sabbath. 

Arrived at this place, he sat down to table with the 
others ; but as all the viands which were on the table 
* Alpbons. a Castro ex Pelro Grilland. Tract, de H^resib. 


were very insipid, he asked for some salt ; they were 
some time before they brought any; at last, seeing 
a salt-cellar, he said, — " God be praised, there is some 
salt at last ! " At the same instant he heard a very 
great noise, all the company disappeared, and he found 
himself alone and naked in a field among the mountains. 
He went forward and found some shepherds ; he learned 
that he was more than three leagues from his dwelling. 
He returned thither as he could, and having related 
the circumstance to the Inquisitors, they caused the 
woman and several others, her accomplices, to be taken 
up and chastised as they deserved. 

The same author relates that a woman returning 
from the sabbath and being carried through the air by 
the evil spirit, heard in the morning the bell for the 
Angelus. The devil let her go immediately, and she 
fell into a quickset hedge on the bank of a river, her 
hair fell dishevelled over her neck and shoulders. She 
perceived a young lad, who after much entreaty came 
and took her out and conducted her to the next village, 
where her house was situated ; it required most pressing 
and repeated questions on the part of the lad, before 
she would tell him truly what had happened to her ; 
she made him presents, and begged him to say nothing 
about it, nevertheless the circumstance got spread 

If we could depend on the truth of these stories, and 
an infinite number of similar ones, w^hich books are full 
of, we might believe that sometimes sorcerers are carried 
bodily to the sabbath ; but on comparing these stories 
with others which prove that they go thither only in 


mind and imagination, we may say boldly, that what is 
related of wizards and witches who go or think they go 
to the sabbath, is usually only illusion on the part 
of the devil, and seduction on the part of those of both 
sexes who fancy they fly and travel, while they in 
reality do not stir from their places. The spirit of 
malice and falsehood being mixed up in this foolish 
prepossession, they confirm themselves in their follies 
and engage others in the same impiety ; for Satan has 
a thousand ways of deceiving mankind and of retaining 
them in error. Magic, impiety, enchantments, are 
often the effects of a diseased imagination. It rarely 
happens that these kind of people do not fall into every 
excess of licentiousness, irreligion, and theft, and into 
the most outrageous consequences of hatred to their 

Some have believed that demons took the form of 
the sorcerers and sorceresses who were supposed to be 
at the sabbath, and that they maintained the simple 
creatures in their foolish belief, by appearing to them 
sometimes in the shape of those persons who were re- 
puted witches, while they themselves were quietly 
asleep in their beds. But this belief contains difficulties 
as great, or perhaps greater, than the opinion we would 
combat. It is far from easy to understand that the 
demon takes the form of pretended sorcerers and 
witches, that he appears under this shape, that he eats, 
drinks, and travels, and does other actions to make sim- 
pletons believe that sorcerers go to the sabbath. What 
advantage does the devil derive from making idiots be- 
lieve these things, or maintaining them in such an error? 


Nevertheless it is related,^ that St. Germain, Bishop 
of Auxerre, travelling one day, and passing through a 
village in his diocese, after having taken some refresh- 
ment there, remarked that they were preparing a great 
supper, and laying out the table anew ; he asked if they 
expected company, and they told him it was for those 
good women who go by night. St. Germain well 
understood what was meant, and resolved to watch to 
see the end of this adventure. 

Sometime after he beheld a multitude of demons who 
came in the form of men and women, and sat down to 
table in his presence. St. Germain forbade them to 
withdraw, and calling the people of the house, he asked 
them if they knew those persons : they replied, that 
they were such and such among their neighbours : Go, 
said he, and see if they are in their houses : they went, 
and found them asleep in their beds. The saint con- 
jured the demons, and obliged them to declare that it 
is thus they mislead mortals, and make them believe 
that there are sorcerers and witches who go by night 
to the sabbath ; they obeyed, and disappeared, greatly 

This history may be read in old manuscripts, and is 
to be found in Jacques de Yarasse, Pierre de Noels, 
in St. Antonine, and in old Breviaries of Auxerre, as 
well printed, as manuscript. I by no means guarantee 
the truth of this story; I think it is absolutely 
apocryphal; but it proves that those who wrote and 
copied it, believed that these nocturnal journeys of 
sorcerers and witches to the sabbath, were mere illu- 

b Bolland, 5 Jul. p. 2S7. 
VOL. I. G 


sions of the demon. In fact it is hardly possible to 
explain all that is said of sorcerers and witches going to 
the sabbath, without having recourse to the ministry of 
the demon ; to which we must add a disturbed imagi- 
nation, with a mind misled, and foolishly prepossessed, 
and, if you w411, a few drugs which affect the brain, 
excite the humours, and produce dreams relative to 
impressions already in their minds. 

In John Baptist Porta Cardan, and elsewhere, may 
be found the composition of those ointments with which 
witches are said to anoint themselves, to be able to trans- 
l)ort themselves to the sabbath ; but the only real effect 
they produce is to send them to sleep, disturb their 
imagination, and make them believe they are going 
long journeys, while they remain profoundly sleeping 
in their beds. 

The fathers of the council of Paris, of the year 829, 
confess that magicians, wizards, and people of that kind, 
are the ministers and instruments of the demon in the 
exercise of their diabolical art; that they trouble the 
minds of certain persons by beverages calculated to 
inspire impure love ; that they are persuaded they can 
disturb the sky, excite tempests, send hail, predict the 
future, ruin and destroy the fruit, and take away the 
milk of cattle belonging to one person, in order to give 
it to cattle the property of another. 

The bishops conclude, that all the rigour of the laws 
enacted by princes against such persons ought to be put 
in force against them, and so much the more justly, 
that it is evident they yield themselves up to the service 
of the devil. 


Spranger, in the Malleus Malejicorum, relates, that In 
Suabia, a peasant who was walking in his fields with 
his little girl, a child about eight years of age, com- 
plained of the drought, saying, Alas ! when will God 
give us some rain ? Immediately the little girl told 
him that she could bring him some down whenever he 
wished it. He answered, — " And who has taught you 
that secret?" " My mother," said she, " who has 
strictly forbidden me to tell any body of it." 

" And what did she do to give you this power ?" 

" She took me to a master, who comes to me as 
many times as I call him." 

" And have you seen this master?" 

" Yes," said she, " I have often seen men come to 
my mother's house; she has devoted me to one of 

After this dialogue, the father asked her how she 
could do to make it rain upon his field only ? She 
asked but for a little water ; he led her to a neighbour- 
ing brook, and the girl having called the water in the 
name of him to whom she had been devoted by her 
mother, they beheld directly abundance of rain falling 
on the peasant's field. 

The father, convinced that his wife was a sorceress, 
accused her before the judges, who condemned her to 
be burnt. The daughter was baptized and vowed 
to God, but she then lost the power of making it rain 
at her will. 




This Is an unheard-of example ; a man and woman 
who declared themselves to be a sorcerer and sorceress. 
Louis Gaufredi, Cure of the parish of Accouls, at 
Marseilles,^ was accused of magic, and arrested at the 
beginning of the year 1611. Christopher Gaufredi, 
his uncle, of Pourrieres, in the neighbourhood of Beau- 
versas, sent him, six months before he (Christopher) 
died, a little paper book, in 16mo, with six leaves 
written upon; at the bottom of every leaf were two 
verses in French, and in the other part were characters 
or ciphers, which contained magical mysteries. Louis 
Gaufredi at first thought very little of this book, and 
kept it for five years. 

At the end of that time, having read the French 
verses, the devil presented himself under a human 
shape, and by no means deformed, and told him that he 
was come to fulfil all his wishes, if he would give Mm 
credit for all his good works. Gaufredi agreed to the 
condition. He asked of the demon that he might enjoy 
a great reputation for wisdom and virtue among per- 
sons of probity, and that he might inspire with love all 
* Causes Cel^brcs, torn. vi. p. 192. 


the women and young girls he pleased, by simply 
breathing upon them. 

Lucifer promised him all this in writing, and Gau- 
fredi very soon saw the perfect accomplishment of his 
designs. He inspired with love a young lady named 
Magdalen, the daughter of a gentleman whose name 
was Mandole de la Palud. This girl was only nine 
years old, when Gaufredi, on pretence of devotion 
and spirituality, gave her to understand that, as her 
spiritual father, he had a right to dispose of her, and 
persuaded her to give herself to the devil ; and some 
years afterwards, he obliged her to give a schedule, 
signed with her own blood, to the devil, to deliver 
herself up to him still more. It is even said, that 
he made her give from that time seven or eight other 

After that, he breathed upon her, inspired her with 
a violent passion for himself, and took advantage of 
her; he gave her a familiar demon, who served her 
and followed her every where. One day he transported 
her to the witches' sabbath, held on a high mountain 
near Marseilles; she saw there people of all nations, 
and in particular Gaufredi, who held there a distin- 
guished rank, and who caused characters to be im- 
pressed or stamped on her head and in several other 
parts of her body. This girl afterwards became a nun 
of the order of St. Ursula, and passed for being pos- 
sessed by the devil. 

Gaufredi also inspired several other women with an 
irregular passion, by breathing on them ; and this 
diabolical power lasted for six years. For at last 


they found out that he was a sorcerer and magician ; and 
Mademoiselle de Mandole having been arrested by the 
Inquisition, and interrogated by father Michael Jacobin, 
owned a great part of what we have just told, and 
during the exorcisms discovered several other things. 
She was then nineteen years of age. 

All this made Gaufredi known to the Parliament 
of Proven9e. They arrested him; and proceedings 
against him commenced February, 1611. They heard 
in particular the deposition of Magdalen de la Palud, 
who gave a complete history of the magic of Gau- 
fredi, and the abominations he had committed with 
her. That for the last fourteen years he had been 
a magician, and head of the magicians; and if he 
had been taken by the justiciary power, the devil 
would have carried him body and soul to hell. 

Gaufredi had voluntarily gone to prison ; and from 
the first examination which he underwent, he denied 
every thing and represented himself as an upright man. 
But from the depositions made against him, it was 
shown that his heart was very corrupted, and that he 
had seduced Mademoiselle de Mandole, and other 
women whom he confessed. This young lady was 
heard juridically the 21st of February, and gave the 
history of her seduction, of Gaufredi's magic, and of 
the sabbath whither he had caused her to be trans- 
ported several times. 

Some time after this, being confronted with Gaufredi, 
she owned that he was a worthy man, and that all 
which had been reported against him was imaginary, 
and retracted all she herself had avowed. Gaufredi 


on his part acknowledged his illicit connexion with 
her, denied all the rest, and maintained that it was the 
devil, by whom she was possessed, that had suggested 
to her all she had said. He owned that having re- 
solved to reform his life, Lucifer had appeared to him, 
and threatened him with many misfortunes; that in 
fact he had experienced several ; that he had burnt the 
magic book in which he had placed the schedules of 
Mademoiselle de la Palud and his own, which he had 
made with the devil; but that when he afterwards 
looked for them, he was much astonished not to find 
them. He spoke at length concerning the sabbath, 
and said there was near the town of Nice, a magician, 
who had all sorts of garments ready for the use of the 
sorcerers ; that on the day of the sabbath, there is a 
bell weighing a hundred pounds, four ells in width, 
and with a clapper of wood, which made the sound dull 
and lugubrious. He related several horrors, impieties, 
and abominations, which were committed at the sab- 
bath. He repeated the schedule which Lucifer had 
given him, by which he bound himself to cast a spell on 
those women who should be to his taste. 

After this exposition of the things related above, the 
attorney -general drew his conclusions: As the said 
Gaufredi has been convicted of having divers marks in 
several parts of his body, where if pricked he has felt 
no pain, neither has any blood come ; that he has been 
illicitly connected with Magdalen de la Palud, both at 
church and in her own house, both by day and by 
night, by letters in which were amorous or love 
characters, invisible to any other but herself; that he 


had induced her to renounce her God and her Church — 
and that she had received on her body several diabohcal 
characters ; that he has owned himself to be a sorcerer 
and magician ; that he had kept by him a book of magic, 
and had made use of it to conjure and invoke the evil 
spirit ; that he has been with the said Magdalen to the 
sabbath, where he had committed an infinite number 
of scandalous, impious, and abominable actions, such as 
having worshipped Lucifer : — for these causes, the said 
attorney-general requires, that the said Gaufredi be 
declared attainted and convicted of the circumstances 
imputed to him, and as reparation of them, that he be 
previously degraded from sacred orders, by the Lord 
Bishop of jMarseilles, his diocesan, and afterwards con- 
demned to make honourable amends one audience day, 
having his head and feet bare, a cord about his neck, 
and holding a lighted taper in his hands — to ask pardon 
of God, the king, and the court of justice — then, to be 
delivered into the hands of the executioner of the high 
court of law, to be taken to all the chief places and 
cross-roads of this city of Aix, and torn with red-hot 
pincers in all parts of his body ; and after that, in the 
Place des Jacobins, burned alive, and his ashes scattered 
to the wind; and before being executed, let the question 
be applied to him, and let him be tormented as grievously 
as can be devised, in order to extract from him the 
names of his other accomplices. Deliberated the 18th 
of April, 1611, and the decree in conformity given the 
29th of April, 1611. 

The same Gaufredi having undergone the question 
ordinary and extraordinary, declared that he had seen 


at the sabbath no person of his acquaintance except 
Mademoiselle de Mandole ; that he had seen there also 
certain monks of certain orders, which he did not name, 
neither did he know the names of the monks. That 
the devil anointed the heads of the sorcerers with 
certain unguents, which quite effaced every thing from 
their memory. 

Notwithstandlnor this decree of the Parliament of 
Proven9e, many people believed that Gaufredi was a 
sorcerer only in imagination; and the author from 
whom we derive this history says, that there are some 
parliaments, amongst others the Parliament of Paris, 
which do not punish sorcerers, when no other crimes 
are combined with magic; and that experience has 
proved, that in not punishing sorcerers, but simply 
treatins: them as madmen, it has been seen in time 
that they were no longer sorcerers, because they no 
longer fed their Imacrination with these ideas ; while in 
those places where sorcerers were burnt, they saw 
nothing else, because everybody was strengthened in 
this prejudice. That is what this writer says. 

But we cannot conclude from thence, that God does 
not sometimes permit the demon to exercise his power 
over men, and lead them to the excess of malice and 
impiety, and shed darkness over their minds and cor- 
ruption in their hearts, which hurry them into an abyss 
of disorder and misfortune. The demon tempted Job ^ 
by the permission of God. The messenger of Satan 
and the thorn in the flesh wearied St. Paul ; ^ he asked 
to be delivered from them ; but he was told that the 

^ Job i. 12, 13, 22. ^ 2 Cor. xii. 7, 8. 

G 3 


o-race of God would enable him to resist his enemies, 
and that virtue was strengthened by infirmities and 
trials. Satan took possession of the heart of Judas, 
and led him to betray Jesus Christ his Master to the 
Jews his enemies.'^ The Lord wishing to warn his 
disciples against the impostors who would appear after 
his ascension, says, that by God's permission, these 
impostors would work such miracles as might mislead 
the very elect themselves,^ were it possible. He tells 
them elsewhere/ that Satan has asked permission of 
God to sift them as wheat, but that He has prayed for 
them that their faith may be steadfast. 

Thus then with permission from God, the devil can 
lead men to commit such excesses as we have just seen 
in Mademoiselle de la Palud and in the priest Louis 
Gaufredi, perhaps even so far as really to take them 
through the air to unknown spots, and to what is called 
the witches' sabbath ; or, without really conducting 
them thither, so strike their imagination and mislead 
their senses, that they think they move, see, and hear, 
when they do not stir from their places, see no object 
and hear no sound. 

Observe also, that the Parliament of Aix did not 
pass any sentence against even that young girl, it being 
their custom to inflict no other punishment on those 
who suffered themselves to be seduced and dishonoured, 
than the shame with which they were loaded ever after. 
In regard to the cure Gaufredi, in the account which 
they render to the chancellor of the sentence given by 
them, they say that this cure was in truth accused of 
^ John xiii. 2. « Matt. xxiv. 5. ^ Luke xxi. 


sorcery ; but that he had been condemned to the flames, 
as being arraigned and convicted of spiritual incest with 
Magdalen de la Palud, his penitent.^ 

« The attentive reader of this horrible narrative will hardly fail to 
conclude that Gaufredi's fault was chiefly his seduction of Mademoiselle 
de la Palud, and that the rest was the efiect of a heated imagination. The 
absurd proportions of the " Sabbath " bell will be sufficient to show 
this. If the bell were metallic, it would have weighed many tons, and 
a wooden bell of such dimensions, even were it capable of sounding, 
would weigh many hundred weight. 



All that has just been said is more fitted to prove, 
that the going of sorcerers and witches to the sabbath 
is only an illusion and a deranged imagination on the 
part of these persons, and malice and deceit on that 
of the devil, who misleads them, and persuades them 
to yield themselves to him, and renounce true religion, 
by the lure of vain promises that he will enrich them, 
load them with honours, pleasures, and prosperity, 
rather than to convince us of the reality of the cor- 
poreal transportation of these persons to what they 
call the sabbath. 

Here are some arguments and examples which seem 
to prove, at least, that the transportation of sorcerers to 
the sabbath is not impossible ; for the impossibility of 
this transportation is one of the strongest objections 
which is made to the opinion that supposes it. 

There is no difficulty in believing that God may 
allow the demon to mislead men, and carry them on to 
every excess of irregularity, error, and impiety; and 
that he may also permit him to perform some things 
which to us appear astonishing, and even miraculous ; 
whether the devil achieves them by natural power, or 


by the supernatural concurrence of God, who employs 
the evil spirit to punish his creature, who has willingly 
forsaken Him to yield himself up to his enemy. The 
prophet Ezekiel was transported through the air from 
Chaldea, where he was a captive, to Judea, and into 
the temple of the Lord, where he saw the abominations 
which the Israelites committed in that holy place ; 
and thence he was brouo;ht back ao-ain to Chaldea 
by the ministration of angels, as we shall relate in 
another chapter. 

We know by the Gospel that the devil carried our 
Saviour to the highest point of the temple at Jeru- 
salem.^ "VYe know also that the prophet Habakkuk'^ 
w^as transported from Judea to Babylon, to carry food 
to Daniel in the lions' den. St. Paul informs us that 
he was carried up to the third heaven, and that he heard 
ineifable things; but he owns that he does not know 
whether it was in the body or only in the spirit. He 
therefore doubted not the possibility of a man's being 
transported in body and soul through the air. The 
deacon St. Philip w^as transported from the road from 
Gaza to Azotus in a very little time by the Spirit of 
God.'' We learn by ecclesiastical history, that Simon 
the magician was carried by the demon up into the 
air, whence he was precipitated, through the prayers of 
St. Peter. John the Deacon,"^ author of the Life of 
St. Gregory the Great, relates, that one Farold having 
introduced into the monastery of St. Andrew, at Rome, 
some women who led disorderly lives, in order to divert 

^ Matt. iv. 5. ^ Dan. xiv. 33, 34. Douay Yersion. 

*= Acts viii. 40. ^ Joan. Diacon. Yit. Gregor. Mag. 


himself there with them, and offer insult to the monks, 
that same night Farold, having occasion to go out, was 
suddenly seized and carried up into the air by demons, 
who held him there suspended by his hair, without his 
being able to open his mouth to utter a cry, till the 
hour of matins, when Pope St. Gregory, the founder 
and protector of that monastery, appeared to him, re- 
proached him for his profanation of that holy place, and 
foretold that he would die within the year — which did 

I have been told by a magistrate, as incapable of 
being deceived by illusions, as of imposing any such on 
other people,^ that on the 16th of October, 1716, a 
carpenter, who inhabited a village near Bar, in Alsace, 
called Heiligenstein, was found at five o'clock in the 
morning in the garret of a cooper at Bar. This cooper 
having gone up to fetch the wood for his trade that he 
might want to use during the day, and having opened 
the door, which was fastened with a bolt on the outside, 
perceived a man lying at full length upon his stomach, 
and fast asleep. He recognised him, and having asked 
him what he did there, the carpenter in the greatest 
surprise told him he knew neither by what means, nor 
by whom, he had been taken to that place. 

The cooper, not believing this, told him that 
assuredly he was come thither to rob him, and had him 
taken before the magistrate of Bar, who having interro- 
gated him concerning the circumstance just spoken of, he 
related to him with great simplicity, that having set off 
about four o'clock in the morning to come from Heili- 
« Lettre de It. G. P. E., 5th October, 1746. 


genstein to Bar — there being but a quarter of an hour's 
distance between those two places — he saw on a sudden, 
in a place covered with verdure and grass, a magnificent 
feast, brightly illuminated, where a number of persons 
were highly enjoying themselves with a sumptuous 
repast and by dancing; that two women of his acquain- 
tance, inhabitants of Bar, having asked him to join the 
company, he sat down to table and partook of the good 
cheer, for a quarter of an hour at the most ; after that, 
one of the guests having cried out '^ Cito, cito,^'' he found 
himself carried away gently to the cooper's garret, 
without knowing how he had been transported there. 

This is what he declared in presence of the magistrate. 
The most singular circumstance of this history is, that 
hardly had the carpenter deposed what we read, 
than those two women of Bar who had invited him 
to join their feast hung themselves, each in her ovv^n 

The superior magistrates, fearing to carry things so 
far as to compromise perhaps half the inhabitants of 
Bar, judged prudently, that they had better not inquire 
further ; they treated the carpenter as a visionary, and 
the two women who hung themselves were considered 
as lunatics ; thus the thing was hushed up, and the 
matter ended. 

If this is what they call the witches ' sabbath, 
neither the carpenter, nor the two women, nor appa- 
rently the other guests at the festival, had need to come 
mounted on a demon ; they were too near their own 
dwellings to have recourse to superhuman means in 
order to have themselves transported to the place of 


meeting. We are not informed how these guests 
repaired to this feast, nor how they returned each one 
to their home ; the spot was so near the town, that they 
could easily go and return without any extraneous 

But if secrecy was necessary, and they feared dis- 
covery, it is very probable that the demon transported 
them to their homes through the air before it was day, 
as he had transported the carpenter to the cooper's 
garret. Whatever turn may be given to this event, it 
is certainly difficult not to recognise a manifest work of 
the evil spirit in the transportation of the carpenter 
through the air, who finds himself, without being aware 
of it, in a well-fastened garret. The women who hung 
themselves, showed clearly that they feared something 
still worse from the law, had they been convicted of 
magic and witchcraft. And had not their accomplices 
also, whose names must have been declared, as much 
to fear? 

William de Neubridge relates another story, which 
bears some resemblance to the preceding. A peasant 
having heard, one night as he was passing near a tomb, 
a melodious concert of different voices, drew near, and 
finding the door open, put in his head, and saw in the 
middle a grand feast, well lighted, and a well-covered 
table, round which were men and women making 
merry. One of the attendants having perceived him, 
presented him with a cup filled with liquor ; he took it, 
and having spilled the liquor, he fled with the cup to the 
first village, where he stopped. If our carpenter had 
done the same, instead of amusing himself at the feast 


of the witches of Bar, he would have spared himself 
much uneasiness. 

We have in history several instances of persons full 
of religion and piety, who, in the fervour of their 
orisons, have been taken up into the air, and remained 
there for some time. We have known a good monk, 
who rises sometimes from the ground, and remains sus- 
pended without wishing it, without seeking to do so, 
especially on seeing some devotional image, or on hearing 
some devout prayer, such as " Gloria in excelsis Deo.^'' 
I know a nun to w^hom it has often happened in spite 
of herself, to see herself thus raised up in the air to 
a certain distance from the earth ; it was neither from 
choice, nor from any wish to distinguish herself, since 
she was truly confused at it. Was it by the ministra- 
tion of angels, or by the artifice of the seducing spirit, 
who wished to inspire her with sentiments of vanity 
and pride ? Or was it the natural effect of Divine love, 
or fervour of devotion in these persons ? 

I do not observe that the ancient fathers of the 
desert, who were so spiritual, so fervent, and so great 
in prayer, experienced similar ecstasies. These risings 
up in the air are more common among our new saints, 
as we may see in the Life^ of St. Philip of Xeri, 
where they relate his ecstasies and his elevations from 
earth into the air, sometimes to the height of several 
yards, and almost to the ceiling of his room, and this 
quite involuntarily. He tried in vain to hide it from 
the knowledge of those present, for fear of attracting 
their admiration, and feeling in it some vain compla- 
^ On the 26th of May, of the BoUandists, c. sx. n. 356, 357. 


cency. The writers Avho give us these particulars do 
not say what was the cause, whether these ecstatic 
elevations from the ground were produced by the 
fervour of the Holy Spmt, or by the ministry of good 
angels, or by a miraculous favour of Grod, who desired 
thus to do honour to his servants in the eyes of men. 
God had moreover favoured the same St. Philip de 
Neri, by permitting him to see the celestial spirits and 
even the demons, and to discover the state of holy 
spirits, by supernatural knowledge. 

St. John Columbino, teacher of the Jesuits, made use 
of St. Catherine Columbina,= a maiden of extraordinary 
virtue, for the establishment of nuns of his order. It 
is related of her, that sometimes she remained in a 
trance, and raised up two yards from the ground, 
motionless, speechless, and insensible. 

The same thing is said of St. Ignatius de Loyola,^ 
who remained entranced by God, and raised up from 
the ground to the height of two feet, while his body 
shone like light. He has been seen to remain in a 
trance insensible, and almost without respiration, for 
eight days together. 

St. Robert de Palentin^ rose also from the ground, 
sometimes to the height of a foot and a half, to 
the great astonishment of his disciples and assistants. 
We see similar trances and elevations in the Life of 
St. Bernard Ptolomei, teacher of the cons-reg-ation of 
Notre Dame of Mount Olivet '^ of St. Philip Benitas, 
of the order of Servites; of St. Cajetanus, founder of 

g Acta S. J. Bolland. 3 Jul. p. 95. ^ Ibid. 31 Jul. pp. 432, 663. 

^ Ibid. 18 Aug. p. 503. ' Ibid. 21 Aug. pp. 469, 481. 


the Theatlns ; ^ of St. Albert of Sicily, confessor, who, 
during his prayers, rose three cubits from the ground ; 
and lastly of St, Dominic, the founder of the order of 
Preaching Brothers."^ 

It is related of St. Christina,^ Virgin at S. Tron, 
that being considered dead, and carried into the church 
in her coffin, as they were performing for her the usual 
service, she arose suddenly, and went as high as the 
beams of the church, as lightly as a bird. Being re- 
turned into the house with her sisters, she related to 
them that she had been led first to purgatory, and 
thence to hell, and lastly to paradise, where God had 
given her the choice of remaining there, or of returning 
to this world and doing penance for the souls she had 
seen in purgatory. She chose the latter, and was 
brought back to her body by the holy angels. From 
that time she could not bear the effluvia of the human 
body, and rose up into trees and on the highest towers 
with incredible lightness, there to watch and pray. 
She was so light in running, that she outran the 
swiftest dogs. Her parents tried in vain all they could 
do to stop her, even to loading her with chains, but she 
always escaped from them. So many other almost 
incredible things are related of this saint, that I dare 
not repeat them here. 

M. Nicole, in his letters, speaks of a nun named 
Seraphina, who, in her ecstasies, rose from the ground 
with so much impetuosity, that five or six of the sisters 
could hardly hold her down. 

• Acta S. J. Bolland. 17 Aug. p. 255. " Ibid. 4 Aug. p. 405. 

" Vita S. Christina. 24 Jul. Bolland. pp. 652, 653. 


This doctor, reasoning on the fact," says, that it 
proves nothing at all for Sister Seraphina; but the 
thing well verified proves God and the devil — that is to 
say, the whole of religion ; that the circumstance being 
proved, is of very great consequence to religion; that 
the world is full of certain persons who believe only 
what cannot be doubted ; that the great heresy of the 
world is no longer Calvinism and Lutheranism, but 
Atheism. There are all sorts of Atheists — some real, 
others pretended; some determined, others vacillating, 
and others tempted to be so. We ought not to neglect 
this kind of people ; the grace of God is all-powerful ; 
we must not despair of bringing them back by good 
arguments, and by solid and convincing proofs. Now, 
if these facts are certain, we must conclude that there 
is a God, or bad angels who imitate the works of God, 
and perform by themselves or their subordinates works 
capable of deceiving even the elect. 

One of the oldest instances I remark of persons thus 
raised from the ground without any one touching them, 
is that of St. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, who 
died in 988, and who, a little time before his death, as 
he was going up stairs to his apartment, accompanied 
by several persons, was observed to rise from the 
ground ; and as all present were astonished at the cir- 
cumstance, he took occasion to speak of his approaching 

Trithemius, speaking of St. Elizabeth, Abbess of 
Schonau, in the diocese of Treves, says, that sometimes 

" Nicole, torn. i. Letters, pp. 203, 205. Letter XLV. 
p Vita Sancti Dunstani, xi, 42. 


she was in an ecstatic trance, so that she would remain 
motionless and breathless during a long time. In these 
intervals she learned, by revelation and by the inter- 
course she had with blessed spirits, admirable things ; 
and when she revived, she would discourse divinely, 
sometimes in German, her native language, sometimes 
in Latin, though she had no knowledge of that language. 
Trithemius did not doubt her sincerity and the truth of 
her discourse. She died in 1 165. 

St. Richard, Abbot of S. Vanne de Verdun, ap- 
peared in 1036 elevated from the ground while he was 
saying mass in presence of the Duke Galizon, his sons, 
and a great number of lords and soldiers. 

In the last century, the reverend Father Dominic 
Carme Dechaux was raised from the ground before the 
King of Spain, the Queen, and all the court, so that 
they had only to blow upon his body to move it about 
like a soap-bubble.i 

^ It is worthy of remark, that in the cases which Calmet refers to of 
persons in his own time, and of his own acquaintance, being thus raised 
from the ground, he in no instance states himself to have been a witness 
of the wonder. 



We cannot reasonably dispute the truth of these ecstatic 
trances and elevations of the body of some saints, to a 
certain distance from the ground, since these circum- 
stances are supported by so many witnesses. To apply 
this to the matter we here treat of, might it not be said 
that sorcerers and witches by the operation of the 
demon, and with God^s permission, by the help of a 
lively and subtile temperament, are rendered light and 
rise into the air ; where their heated imagination and 
prepossessed mind lead them to believe that they hare 
done, seen, and heard, what has no reality except in 
their own brain ? 

I shall be told that the parallel I make between the 
actions of saints, which can only be attributed to angels 
and the operation of the Holy Spirit, or to the fervour 
of their charity and devotion, with what happens to 
wizards and witches, is injurious and odious ; I know 
how to make a proper distinction between them: do 
not the books of the Old and Xew Testament, place in 
parallel lines the true miracles of Moses, with those 
of the magicians of Pharaoh ; those of antichrist and 


his subordinates, with those of the saints and apostles ; 
and does not St. Paul inform us, that the angel of 
darkness often transforms himself into an angel of light? 
In the first edition of this work, we spoke very fully 
of certain persons, who boast of having what they call 
"the garter," and by that means are able to perform 
with extraordinary quickness in a very few hours, what 
would naturally take them several days journeying. 
Almost incredible things are related on that subject, 
nevertheless the details are so circumstantial, that it is 
hardly possible there should not be some foundation for 
them ; and the demon may transport these people in a 
forced and violent manner, which causes them a fatigue 
similar to w^hat they would have suffered, had they 
really performed the journey with more than ordinary 

For instance, the two circumstances related by 
Torquemada: the first of a poor scholar of his ac- 
quaintance, a clever man, who at last rose to be phy- 
sician to Charles V. ; when studying at Guadalupe, 
was invited by a traveller who wore the garb of a 
monk, and to whom he had rendered some little service, 
to mount up behind him on his horse, w^hich seemed a 
sorry animal and much tired ; he got up and rode all 
night, without perceiving that he went at an extra- 
ordinary pace, but in the morning he found himself 
near the City of Granada ; the young man went into 
the town, but the conductor passed onwards. 

Another time, the father of a young man, known to 
the same Torquemada, and the young man himself, 
were going together to Granada, and passing through 


the village of Almeda, met a man on horseback like 
themselves and going the same way ; after having 
travelled two or three leagues together, they halted, 
and the cavalier spread his cloak on the grass, so that 
there was no crease in the mantle ; they all placed what 
provisions they had with them on this extended cloak, 
and let their horses graze. They drank and ate very 
leisurely, and having told their servants to bring their 
horses, the cavalier said to them. Gentlemen, do not 
hurry, you will reach the town early — at the same time 
he showed them Granada, at not a quarter of an hour's 
distance from thence. . 

Something equally marvellous is said of a canon of 
the cathedral of Beauvais. The Chapter of that church 
had been charged for a long time to acquit itself of a 
certain personal duty to the Church of Rome ; the 
canons having chosen one of their brethren to repair to 
Rome for this purpose, the canon deferred his de- 
parture from day to day, and set off after matins on 
Christmas Day — arrived that same day at Rome, ac- 
quitted himself there of his commission, and came back 
from thence with the same despatch, bringing with him 
the original of the bond, which obliged the canons to 
send one of their body to make this offering in person. 

However fabulous and incredible this story may 
appear, it is asserted that there are authentic proofs of 
it in the archives of the cathedral ; and that upon the 
tomb of the canon in question, may still be seen the 
fisiures of demons eng-raved at the four corners in 
memory of this event. They even affirm, that the 
celebrated Father Mabillon saw the authentic voucher. 


Now, if this circumstance and the others like it are 
not absolutely fabulous, we cannot deny that they are 
the effects of magic, and the work of the evil spirit. 

Peter, the venerable Abbot of Cluny,^ relates so 
extraordinary a thing which happened in his time, that 
I should not repeat it here, had it not been seen by 
the whole town of Macon. The count of that town, a 
very violent man, exercised a kind of tyranny over the 
ecclesiastics, and against whatever belonged to them, 
without troubling himself either to conceal his violence, 
or to find a pretext for it ; he carried it on with a high 
hand and gloried in it. One day when he was sitting 
in his palace in company with several nobles and others, 
they beheld an unknown person enter on horseback, 
who advanced to the count and desired him to follow 
him. The count rose and followed him, and having 
reached the door, he found there a horse ready capari- 
soned; he mounts it, and is immediately carried up 
into the air, crying out in a terrible tone to those who 
were present. Here, help me ! All the town ran out at 
the noise, but they soon lost sight of him; and no 
doubt was entertained that the devil had flown away 
with him to be the companion of his tortures, and to 
bear the pain of his excesses and his violence. 

It is then not absolutely impossible, that a person 
may be raised into the air and transported to some very 
high and distant place, by order or by permission of 
God, by good or evil spirits ; but we must own that the 
thing is of rare occurrence, and that in all that is re- 
lated of sorcerers and witches, and their assemblins^s at 

" Petrus Venerab. lib. ii. de Miraculis, c. 1. p, 1299. 
VOL. I. H 


the witches' sabbath, there is an infinity of stories, 
which are false, absurd, ridiculous, and even destitute 
of probability. M. Remi, attorney-general of Lorraine, 
author of a celebrated work, entitled Demonology, who 
tried a great number of sorcerers and sorceresses, with 
which Lorraine was then infested, produces hardly any 
proof whence we can infer the truth and reality of 
witchcraft, and of wizards and witches being transported 
to the sabbath. 



It Is with reason that obsessions and possessions of 
the devil are placed in the rank of apparitions of the 
evil spirit among men. We call it obsession when the 
demon acts externally against the person whom he be- 
sets, ^udi possession when he acts internally, agitates them, 
excites their ill-humour, makes them utter blasphemy, 
speak tongues they have never learnt, discovers to 
them unknown secrets, and inspires them with the 
knowledge of the obscurest things in philosophy or 
theology. Saul was agitated and possessed by the evil 
spirit,^ who at intervals excited his melancholy humour, 
and awakened his animosity and jealousy against David, 
or who on occasion of the natural movement or impul- 
sion of these dark moods, seized him, agitated him, and 
disturbed from his usual tenor of mind. Those whom 
the Gospel speaks of as being possessed,^ and who cried 
aloud that Jesus was the Christ, and that he was come 
to torment them before the time, that he was the Son of 
God, are instances of possession. But the demon Asmo- 
deus, who beset Sara, the daughter of Raguel,'^ and who 
killed her first seven husbands ; those spoken of in the 

» 1 Sam. xvi. 23. ^ Matt.viii.16 ; x. 11 ; xviii.28. 

" Tob. iii. 8. 



Gospel, who were simply struck with maladies or 
incommodities which were thought to be incurable; 
those whom the Scripture sometimes calls lunatics, 
who foamed at the mouth, who were convulsed, who 
tied the presence of mankind, who were violent and 
dangerous, so that they were obliged to be chained to 
prevent them from striking and maltreating other 
people ; these kinds of persons were simply beset, or 
obseded by the devil. 

Opinions are much divided on the matter of obsessions 
and possessions of the devil. The hardened Jews, and 
the ancient enemies of the Christian religion, convinced 
by the evidence of the miracles which they saw worked 
by Jesus Christ, by his Apostles, and by Christians, 
dared neither dispute their truth nor their reality ; but 
they attributed them to magic, to the prince of the 
devils, or to the virtue of certain herbs, or of certain 
natural secrets. 

St. Justin,'^ Tertullian, Lactantius, St. Cyprian, 
Minutius, and the other fathers of the first ages of the 
church, speak of the power which the Christian exor- 
cists exercised over the possessed, so confidently and so 
freely, that we can doubt neither the certainty, nor the 
evidence of the thing. They call upon their adversaries 
to bear witness, and pique themselves on making the 
exj^eriment in their presence, and of forcing to come 
out of the bodies of the possessed, to declare their 
names, and acknowledge that those they adore in the 
Pagan temples are but devils. 

^ Justin. Dialog, cum supplem. TertuU. de Corona Militis, c. 11 ; and 
Apolog. c. 23 ; Cyp. ad Demetriam, &c. ; Minutius, in Octavio, &c. 


Some opposed to the true miracles of the Saviour 
those of their false gods, their magicians, and their 
heroes of paganism, such as those of Esculapius, and 
the famous Apollonius of Tyana. The pretended free- 
thinkers dispute them in our days upon philosophical 
principles ; they attribute them to a diseased imagina- 
tion, the prejudices of education, and hidden springs of 
the constitution ; they reduce the expressions of Scrip- 
ture to hyperbole ; they maintain that Jesus Christ 
condescended to the understanding of the people, and 
their prepossessions or prejudices ; that demons being 
purely spiritual substances could not by themselves act 
immediately upon bodies; and that it is not at all 
probable God should work miracles to allow of their 
doing so. 

If we examine closely those who have passed for 
being possessed, we shall not perhaps find one amongst 
them, whose mind had not been deranged by some 
accident, or whose body was not attacked by some 
infirmity either known or hidden, which had caused 
some ferment in the blood or the brain, and which, 
joined to prejudice, or fear, had given rise to what was 
termed in their case obsession or possession. 

The possession of King Saul is easily explained by 
supposing that he was naturally an atrabilarian, and 
that in his fits of melancholy he appeared mad, or 
furious ; therefore they sought no other remedy for his 
illness than music, and the sound of instruments proper 
to enliven or calm him. Several of the obsessions and 
possessions noted in the New Testament were simple 
maladies, or fantastic fancies, which made it believed 


that sucli persons were possessed by the devil. The 
ignorance of the people maintained this prejudice, and 
their being totally unacquainted with physics and 
medicine served to strengthen such ideas. 

In one it was a sombre and melancholy temper, in 
another the blood was too fevered and heated ; here the 
bowels w^ere burnt up with heat, there a concentration 
of diseased humour, which suffocated the patient, as it 
happens with those subject to epilepsy and hypochon- 
dria, who fancy themselves gods, kings, cats, dogs, and 
oxen. There were others who, disturbed at the remem- 
brance of their crimes, fell into a kind of despair, and 
into fits of remorse, which irritated their mind and 
constitution, and made them belicA^e that the devil 
pursued and beset them. Such, apparently, were those 
women who followed Jesus Christ, and Avho had been 
delivered by him from the unclean spirits that possessed 
them, and partly so Mary Magdalen, from whom he 
expelled seven devils. The Scripture often speaks of 
the spirit of impurity, of the spirit of falsehood, of the 
spirit of jealousy; it is not necessary to have recourse to 
a particular demon to excite these passions in us ; St. 
James ^ tells us that we are enough tempted by our 
own concupiscence which leads us to evil, without 
seekino; after external causes. 

The Jews attributed the greater part of their mala- 
dies to the demon : they were persuaded that they 
were a punishment for some crime either known or 
unrevealed. Jesus Christ and his Apostles wisely sup- 
pased these prejudices, without wishing to attack them 

^ James i. 14. 


oi)enly and reform the old opinions of the Jews ; they 
cured the diseases, and chased away the evil spirits who 
caused them, or who were said to cause them. The 
real and essential effect was the cure of the patient ; 
no other thing was required to confirm the mission of 
Jesus Christ, his divinity, and the truth of the doctrine 
which he preached. Whether he expelled the demon, 
or not, is not essentially necessary to his first design . 
it is certain that he cured the patient either by ex- 
pelling the devil, if it be true that this evil spirit caused 
the malady, or by replacing the inw^ard springs and 
humours in their regular and natural state, which is 
always miraculous, and proves the Divinity of the 

Although the Jews were sufficiently credulous con- 
cerning the operations of the evil spirit, they at 
the same time believed that in general the demons 
who tormented certain persons were nothing else than 
the souls of some wretches, who fearing to repair to 
the place destined for them, took possession of the body 
of some mortal whom they tormented and endeavoured 
to deprive of life.^ 

Josephus the historian ^ relates that Solomon com- 
posed some charms against maladies, and some formulae 
of exorcism to expel evil spirits. He says besides, that 
a Jew named Eleazar cured in the presence of Vespa- 
sian some possessed persons by applying under their 
nose a ring, in which was enchased a root, pointed out 
by that prince. They pronounced the name of Solo- 
mon with a certain prayer, and an exorcism; directly, 
^ Joseph. Antiq. lib. vii. c. 25. ^ Ibid. lib. viii. c. 2. 


the person possessed fell on the ground, and the devil 
left him. The generality of common people among the 
Jews had not the least doubt that Beelzebub, prince of 
the devils, had the power to expel other demons, for 
they said that Jesus Christ only expelled them in the 
name of Beelzebub.^ We read in history that some- 
times the pagans expelled demons ; and the physicians 
boast of being able to cure some possessed persons, 
as they cure hypochondriacs, and imaginary disorders. 
These are the most plausible things that are said 
against the reality of the possessions and obsessions of 
the devil. 

h ITatt. xii. 24. 



But tlie possibility, the verity and reality of the 
obsessions and possessions of the devil are indubitable, 
and proved by the Scripture, and by the authority of 
the Church, the Fathers, the Jews, and the Pagans. 
Jesus Christ and the Apostles believed this truth, and 
taught it publicly. The Saviour gives us a proof of 
his mission that he cures the possessed ; he refutes the 
Pharisees, who asserted that he expelled the demons 
only in the name of Beelzebub ; and maintains that 
he expels them by the virtue of God.^ He speaks to 
the demons ; he threatens them, and puts them to 
silence. Are these equivocal marks of the reality of 
obsessions? The Apostles do the same, as did the early 
Christians their disciples. All this was done before the 
eyes of the heathen, who could not deny it, but who 
eluded the force and evidence of these things, by 
attributing this power to other demons, or to certain 
divinities, more powerful than ordinary demons ; as if 
the kingdom of Satan were divided, and the evil Spirit 
could act against himself, or as if there were any col- 
lusion between Jesus Christ and the demons whose 
empire he had just destroyed. 

» Luke viii. 21. 



The seventy disciples on their return from their 
mission came to Jesus Christ^ to give him an account 
of it, and tell him that the demons themselves are 
obedient to them. After his resurrection/ the Saviour 
promises to his Apostles that they shall work miracles 
in his name, that they shall cast out devils, and receive 
the gift of tongues. All which was literally fulfilled. 
• The exorcisms used at all times in the Church against 
the demons are another proof of the reality of posses- 
sions ; they show that at all times the Church and her 
ministers have believed them to be true and real, since 
they have always practised these exorcisms. The 
ancient fathers defied the heathen to produce a demo- 
niac before the Christians ; they pride themselves on 
curing them, and expelling the demon. The Jewish 
exorcists employed even the name of Jesus Christ to 
3ure demoniacs ; '^ they found it eflScncious in producing 
this effect ; it is true that sometimes they employed 
the name of Solomon, and some charms said to have 
been invented by that prince, or roots and herbs to 
which they attributed the same virtues, like as a clever 
physician by the secret of his art can cure a hypochon- 
driac or a maniac, or a man strongly persuaded that he 
is possessed by the devil, or as a wise confessor will 
restore the mind of a person disturbed by remorse, and 
agitated by the reflection of his sins, or the fear of hell. 
But we are speaking now of real possessions and obses- 
sions which are cured only by the power of God, by the 
name of Jesus Christ, and by exorcisms. The son of 

*> Luke X. 17. " Markxvi. 27. 

«! Mark ix. 36—38. Acts xi. 14. 


Sceva, the Jewish priest/ having undertaken to expel 
a devil in the name of Jesus Christ, w^honi Paul 
preached, the demoniac threw himself upon him, and 
would have strangled him, saying that he knew Jesus 
Christ, and Paul, but that for him, he feared him not. 
We must then distinguish well between possessions and 
possessions, exorcists and exorcists. There may be 
found demoniacs who counterfeit the possessed, to excite 
compassion and obtain alms. There may even be 
exorcists who abuse the name and power of Jesus 
Christ to deceive the ignorant; and how do I know that 
there are not even impostors to be found, who would 
place pretended possessed persons in the way, in order 
to pretend to cure them, and thus gain a reputation ? 

I do not enter into longer details on this matter ; I 
have treated it formerly in a particular dissertation 
on the subject, printed apart with other dissertations 
on Scripture, and I have therein replied to the objec- 
tions which were raised on this subject. 

« Acts xix. 14, 



We must now report some of the most famous in- 
stances of the possession and obsession of the demon. 
Every body is talking at this time of the possession (by 
the devil) of the nuns of Loudun, on which such dif- 
ferent opinions were given, both at the time and since. 
Martha Brossier, daughter of a weaver of Romorantin/ 
made as much noise in her time ; but Charles Miron, 
Bishop of Orleans, discovered the fraud, by making 
her drink holy water as common water; by making 
them present to her a key wrapped up in red silk, 
which was said to be a piece of the true cross ; and in 
reciting some lines from Yirgil, which Martha Brois- 
sier's demon took for exorcisms, agitating her very 
much at the approach of the hidden key, and at the 
recital of the verses from Virgil. Henri de Gondi, 
Cardinal Bishop of Paris, had her examined by five of 
the faculty ; three were of opinion that there was a 
great deal of imposture and a little disease. The par- 
liament took notice of the affair, and nominated eleven 
physicians, who reported unanimously that there was 
nothing demoniacal in this matter. 

'* Jean de Lorres, sur I'an 1599. Thuan. Hist. 1. xii. 


In the reign of Charles IX.,^ or a little before, 
a young woman of the town of Yervins, fifteen or 
sixteen years of age, named Nicola Aubry, had dif- 
ferent apparitions of a spectre, who called itself her 
grandfather, and asked her for masses and prayers 
for the repose of his soul.'' Very soon after, she was 
transported to different places by this spectre, and 
sometimes even was carried out of sight, and from the 
midst of those who watched over her. 

Then, they had no longer any doubt that it was the 
devil, which they had a great deal of trouble to make 
her believe. The Bishop of Laon gave his power (of 
attorney) for conjuring the spirit, and commanded them 
to see that the proces-verbaux were exactly drawn up 
by the notaries nominated for that purpose. The exor- 
cisms lasted more than three months, and only serve 
to prove more and more the fact of the possession. 
The poor sufferer was torn from the hands of nine or 
ten men, who could hardly retain their hold of her: 
and on the last day of the exorcisms sixteen could not 
succeed in so doing. She had been lying on the ground, 
w^hen she stood upright and stiff as a statue, without 
those who held her being able to prevent it. She spoke 
divers languages, revealed the most secret things, an- 
nounced others at the moment they were being done, 
although at a great distance ; she discovered to many 
the secret of their conscience, uttered at once three 

^ Charles IX. died in 1574. 

"= This story is taken from a book entitled, " Examen et Discussion 
Critique de THistoire des Diables de Loudun, &c., par M. de la Menar- 
daye. A Paris, chez de Bure I'Aing, 1749. 


dliFerent voices, or tones, and spoke with her tongue 
hanging half a foot out of her mouth. After some 
exorcisms had been made at Vervins, they took her to 
Laon, where the Bishop undertook her. He had a 
scaifolding erected for this purpose in the cathedral. 
Such immense numbers of people went there, that they 
saw in the church ten or twelve thousand persons at 
a time; some even came from foreign countries. Con- 
sequently France could not be less curious ; so the 
princes and great people, and those who could not come 
there themselves, sent persons who might inform them 
of what passed. The Pope's nuncios, the parliamentary 
deputies, and those of the university were present. 

The devil, forced by the exorcisms, rendered such 
testimony to the truth of the Catholic religion, and, 
above all, to the reality of the holy eucharist, and at 
the same time to the falsity of Calvinism, that the irri- 
tated Calvinists no longer kept within bounds. From 
the time the exorcisms were made at Vervins, they 
wanted to kill the possessed, with the priest who exor- 
cised her, in a journey they made her take to Xotre 
Dame de Liesse. At Laon it was still worse ; as they 
were the strongest in numbers there, a revolt was 
more than once apprehended. They so intimidated the 
Bishop and the magistrates, that they took down the 
scaiFold, and did not have the general procession usually 
made before exorcisms. The devil became prouder 
thereupon, insulted the Bishop, and laughed at him. 
On the other hand, the Calvinists having obtained the 
suppression of the procession, and that she should be 
put in prison to be more nearly examined, Carlier, a 


Calvlnlst doctor, suddenly drew from his pocket some- 
thing which was averred to be a most violent poison, 
which he threw into her mouth, and she kept it on her 
stomach whilst the convulsion lasted, but she threw 
it up of herself when she came to her senses. 

All these experiments decided them on recommencing 
the processions, and the scaffold was replaced. Then 
the outraged Calvinists conceived the idea of a writing 
from M. de Montmorency, forbidding the continuation 
of the exorcisms, and enjoining the King's officers to 
be vigilant. Thus they abstained a second time from 
the procession, and again the devil triumphed at it. 
Nevertheless, he discovered to the Bishop the trick of 
this suppositious writing, named those who had taken 
part in it, and declared that he had again gained time 
by this obedience of the Bishop to the will of man 
rather than that of God. Besides that, the devil had 
already protested publicly that it was against his own 
will that he remained in the body of this woman ; that 
he had entered there by the order of God; that it was 
to convert the Calvinists or to harden them, and that 
he was very unfortunate in being obliged to act and 
speak against himself. 

The Chapter then represented to the Bishop that it 
would be proper to make the processions and the con- 
jurations twice a day, to excite still more the devotion, 
of the people. The prelate acquiesced in it, and every 
thing was done with the greatest eclat, and in the most 
orthodox manner. The devil declared again more than 
once that he had gained time ; once because the Bishop 
had not confessed himself ; another time because he 


was not fasting ; and lastly, because it was requisite 
that the chapter and all the dignitaries should be pre- 
sent, as well as the court of justice and the king's 
officers, in order that there might be sufficient testi- 
mony ; that he was forced to warn the Bishop thus of 
his duty, and that accursed was the hour when he 
entered into the body of this person ; at the same time 
he uttered a thousand imprecations against the Church, 
the Bishop, and the clergy. 

Thus at the last day of possession, everybody being 
assembled in the afternoon, the Bishop began the last 
conjurations, when many extraordinary things took 
place ; amongst others, the Bishop desiring to put the 
holy eucharist near the lips of this poor woman, the 
devil in some way seized hold of his arm, and at the same 
moment raised this woman up, as it were, out of the 
hands of sixteen men who were holding her. But at 
last, after much resistance, he came out, and left her 
perfectly cured, and thoroughly sensible of the goodness 
of God. The Te Deum was sung to the sound of all 
the bells in the town ; nothing was heard among the 
Catholics but acclamations of joy, and many of the 
Calvinists were converted, whose descendants still 
dwell in the town. Florimond de Raimond, counsellor 
of the parliament of Bordeaux, had the happiness to 
be of the number, and has written the history of it. 
For nine days they made the procession, to return 
thanks to God ; and they founded a perpetual mass, 
which is celebrated every year on the 8th of February, 
and they represented this story in bas-relief round the 
choir, where it may be seen at this day. 


In short, God, as if to put the finishing stroke to so 
important a work, permitted that the Prince of Conde, 
who had just left the Catholic religion, should be mis- 
led on this subject by those of his new communion. 
He sent for the poor woman, and also the Canon 
d'Espinois, who had never forsaken her during all the 
time of the exorcisms. He interrogated them sepa- 
rately, and at several different times, and made every 
effort, not to discover if they had practised any artifice, 
but to find out if there was any in the whole affair. 
He went so far as to offer the canon very high situa- 
tions if he would change his religion. But what can 
you obtain in favour of heresy from sensible and up- 
right people, to whom God has thus manifested the 
power of his Church ? All the efforts of the prince 
were useless ; the firmness of the canon, and the sim- 
plicity of the poor woman, only served to prove to him 
still more the certainty of the event which displeased 
him, and he sent them both home. 

Yet a return of ill-will caused him to have this 
woman again arrested, and he kept her in one of his 
prisons until her father and mother having entreated an 
inquiry into this injustice to King Charles IX., she was 
set at liberty by order of his majesty.'^ 

An event of such importance, and so carefully 
attested, both on the part of the Bishop and the chap- 
ter, and on that of the magistrates, and even by the 
violence of the Calvinistic party, ought not to be 

^ Tr§sor et entifere Histoire de la Victime du Corps de Dieu, pre- 
sentee au Pape, au Eoi, au Chancelier de France, au Premier President. 
A Paris, 4to, chez Chesnau. 1578. 


buried in silence. King Charles IX., on making his 
entry into Laon some time after, desired to be informed 
about it by the dean of the cathedral, who had been an 
ocular witness of the affair. His majesty commanded 
him to give publicity to the story, and it was then 
printed, first in French, tlien in Latin, Spanish, Italian 
and German, with the approbation of the Sorbonne, 
supported by the rescripts of Pope Pius V. and Gre- 
gory XIII. his successor. And they made after that 
a pretty exact abridgment of it, by order of the Bishop 
of Laon, printed under the title of Le Triomphe du 
S. Sacrament sur le Dlahle. 

These are facts wdiich have all the authenticity that 
can be desired, and such as a man of honour cannot 
with any good breeding affect to doubt, since he could 
not after that consider any facts as certain without 
beins: in shameful contradiction with himself.^ 

« This account is one of tlie many in wliich the theory of possession 
was made use of to impugn the Protestant faith. The simplicity and 
credulity of Calmet is very remarkable. — Editor. 



Theue was in Lorraine, about the year 1620, a woman, 
possessed (by the devil), who made a great noise in the 
country, but whose case is much less known among 
foreio;ners. I mean Mademoiselle Ehzabeth de Kanfaino;, 
the story of whose possession was written and printed 
at Nancy in 1622, by M. Pichard, a doctor of medicine, 
and physician in ordinary to their highnesses of Lor- 
raine. Mademoiselle de Ranfaing was a very virtuous 
person, through whose agency God established a kind 
of order of nuns of the Refuge, the principal object of 
wliich is to withdraw from profligacy the girls or women 
Avho have fallen into libertinism. M. Pichard's work 
was approved by doctors of theology, and authorized by 
M. de Porcelets, Bishop of Toul, and in an assembly of 
learned men whom he sent for to examine the case, and 
the reality of the possession. It was ardently attacked 
and loudly denied by a monk of the Minimlte order, 
named Claude Pithoy, who had the temerity to say that 
he would pray to God to send the devil into himself, 
in case the woman w^hom they were exorcising at Nancy 
was possessed ; and again, that God was not God, if he 
did not command the devil to seize his body, if the 
woman they exorcised at Nancy was really possessed. 


M. PIchard refutes him fully ; but he remarks that 
persons who are weak minded, or of a dull and melan- 
choly character, heavy, taciturn, stupid, and who are 
naturally disposed to frighten and disturb themselves, 
are apt to fancy that they see the devil, that they speak 
to him, and even that they are possessed by him ; above 
all, if they are in places where others are possessed, 
whom they see, and with whom they converse. He 
adds, that thirteen or fourteen years ago, he remarked 
at Nancy a great number of this kind, and with the 
help of God he cured them. He says the same thing 
of atrabilarians, and women who suffer from furor 
uterine, who sometimes do such things and utter such 
cries, that any one would believe they were possessed. 

Mademoiselle Ranfaing having become a widow in 
1617, was sought in marriage by a physician named 
Poviot. As she would not listen to his addresses, he 
first of all gave her philtres to make her love him, 
which occasioned strange derangements in her health. 
At last he gave her some magical medicaments; (for 
he was afterwards known to be a magician, and burnt 
as such by a judicial sentence.) The physicians could 
not relieve her, and were quite at fault with her extra- 
ordinary maladies. After having tried all sorts of reme- 
dies, they were obliged to have recourse to exorcisms. 

Now these are the principal symptoms which made 
it believed that Mademoiselle Panfaing was really pos- 
sessed. They began to exorcise her the 2d September, 
1619, in the town of Remiremont, whence she was 
transferred to Nancy ; there she was visited and inter- 
rogated by several clever physicians, who after having 


minutely examined the symptoms of what happened to 
her, declared that the casualties they had remarked in 
her had no relation at all with the ordinary course 
of known maladies, and could only be the result of 
diabolical possession. 

After which, by order of M. de Porcelets, Bishop of 
Toul, they nominated for the exorcists M. Viardin, 
a doctor of divinity, counsellor of state of the Duke of 
Lorraine, a Jesuit and capuchin. Almost all the monks 
in Nancy, the said lord bishop, the Bishop of Tripoli, 
suffragan of Strasburg, M. de Sancy, formerly ambas- 
sador from the most Christian king at Constantinople, 
and then priest of the Oratoire, Charles de Lorraine, 
Bishop of Verdun ; two doctors of the Sorbonne sent 
on purpose to be present at the exorcisms, often exor- 
cised her in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and she always 
replied pertinently to them, she who could hardly read 

They report the certificate given by M. Nicolas de 
Iiarley, very well skilled in the Hebrew tongue, who 
avowed that Mademoiselle Banfaing was really pos- 
sessed, and had answered him from the movement of 
his lips alone, without his having pronounced any 
words, and had given several proofs of her possession. 
The Sieur Garnier, a doctor of the Sorbonne, having 
also given her several commands in Hebrew, she replied 
pertinently, but in French, saying that the compact was 
made that he should speak only in the usual tongue. 
The demon added, " Is it not enough that I show thee 
that I understand what thou sayest?" The same 
M. Garnier, speaking to him in Greek, inadvertently 


put one case for another ; the possessed, or rather the 
devil, said to him, " Thou hast committed an errorT The 
doctor said to him in Greek, " Point out my fault ;" 
the devil replied, " Ltt it suffice thee that I point out an 
error ; I shall tell thee no more concerning it.''"' The doctor 
telling him in Greek to hold his tongue, he answered, 
** Thou commandest me to hold my tongue, and I will 
not do so." 

M. Midot Ecolatre de Toul said to him in the same 
language, " Sit down ;" he replied, " I will not sit down." 
M. Midot said to him moreover in Greek, " Sit down 
on the ground and obey ; " but as the demon was going 
to throw the possessed by force on the ground, he said 
to him in the same tongue, " Do it gently;" he did so. 
He said in Greek, " Put out the right foot ;" he ex- 
tended it ; he said also in the same language, " Cause 
her knees to be cold," the woman replied that she felt 
them very cold. 

The Sieur Mince, a doctor of the Sorbonne, holding 
a cross in his hand, the devil whispered to him in Greek, 
" Give me the cross," which was heard by some persons 
who were near him. M. Mince desired to make the 
devil repeat the same sentence; he answered, "I will 
not repeat it all in Greek;" but he simply said in 
French, " Give me," and in Greek, " the cross." 

The Reverend Father Albert, capuchin, having 
ordered him in Greek to make the sign of the cross 
seven times with his tongue, in honour of the seven 
joys of the Virgin, he made the sign of the cross three 
times with his tongue, and then twice Avith his nose ; 
but the holy man told him anew to make the sign of 


the cross seven times with his tongue ; he did so ; and 
having been commanded in the same language to kiss 
the feet of the lord Bishop of Toul, he prostrated him- 
self and kissed his feet. 

The same father having observed that the demon 
wished to overturn the Benitier, or basin of holy water 
which was there, he ordered him to take the holy water 
and not spill it, and he obeyed. The Father com- 
manded him to give marks of the possession ; he an- 
swered, "The possession is sufficiently known;" he 
added in Greek, " I command thee to carry some holy 
water to the governor of the town." The demon 
replied, " It is not customary to exorcise in that 
tongue." The father answered in Latin, " It is not 
for thee to impose laws on us ; but the Church has 
power to command thee in whatever language she may 
think proper." 

Then the demon took the basin of holy water and 
carried it to the keeper of the Capuchins, to the Duke 
Eric of Lorraine, to the Counts of Brionne, Bemonville, 
la Yaux, and other lords. 

The physician, M. Pichard having told him in a 
sentence, partly Hebrew, and partly Greek, to cure the 
head and eyes of the possessed woman ; hardly had he 
finished speaking the last words, when the demon 
replied : '^ Faith, we are not the cause of it ; her brain 
is naturally moist : that proceeds from her natural con- 
stitution ;" then M. Pichard said to the assembly, " Take 
notice, gentlemen, that he replies to Greek and Hebrew 
at the same time." — " Yes," replied demon, " you dis- 
cover the pot of roses, and the secret ; I will answer 


you no more." There were several questions and 
replies in foreign languages, which showed that he 
understood them very well. 

M. Viardin having asked him in Latin, " Ubi cense- 
baris quando mane oriebaris? " He replied, '• Between 
the seraphim." They said to him, " Pro signo exhibe 
nobis patibulum fratris Cephas ;" the devil extended his 
arms in the form of a St. Andrew's cross. They said 
to him, " Applica carpum carpo ;" he did so, placing the 
wrist of one hand over the other ; then, " Admove tar- 
sum tarso et metatarsum uietatarso ;" he crossed his 
feet and raised them one upon the other. Then after- 
wards he said, " Excita in calcaneo qualitatem congre- 
gantem heterogenea ;" the possessed said she felt her 
heel cold ; after which, •' Kepraesenta nobis labaiTim 
Venetorum ;" he made the figure of the cross. After- 
wards they said, " Exhibe nobis videntum Deum bene 
precantem nepotibus ex salvatore Egypti ;" he crossed 
his arms as did Jacob on giving his blessing to the sons 
of Joseph ; and then, " Exhibe crucem conterebranteni 
stipiti," he represented the cross of St Peter. The 
exorcist having by mistake said, " Per eum qui adversus 
te praeliavit," the demon did not give him time to correct 
himself; he said to him, '' O the ass ! instead of proe- 
liatus est.'''' He was spoken to in Italian and German, 
and he always answered accordingly. 

They said to him one day, " Sume encolpium ejus 
qui hodie functus est officio illius de quo cecinit Psaltes : 
pro patribus tuis nati sunt tibi filii ;" he went directly 
and took the cross hanging round the neck and resting 
on the breast of the Prince Eric de Lorraine, who that 


same day had filled the office of Bishop in giving orders, 
because the Bishop of Toul was indisposed. He dis- 
covered secret thoughts, and heard words that were 
said in the ear of some persons which he was not pos- 
sibly near enough to overhear, and declared that he had 
known the mental prayer that a good priest had made 
before the holy sacrament. 

Here is a trait still more extraordinary. They said 
to the demon, speaking Latin and Italian in the same 
sentence : " Adi scliolastrum seniorem et osculare ejus 
pedes, la cui Scarpa ha piu di sugaro ;" that very moment 
he went and kissed the foot of the Sieur Juillet, ecolatre 
of St. George, the Elder of M. Viardin, ecolatre of the 
Primitiale. M. Juillet's right foot was shorter than the 
left, Avhich obliged him to wear a shoe with a cork heel, 
(or raised by a piece of cork, called in Italian sugaro.) 

They proposed to him very difficult questions con- 
cerning the Trinity, the Incarnation, the holy sacra- 
ment of the altar, the grace of God, free will, the 
manner in which angels and demons know the thoughts 
of men, &c., and he replied with much clearness and 
precision. She discovered things unknown to every 
body, and revealed to certain persons, but secretly and 
in private, some sins of which they had been guilty. 

The demon did not obey the voice only of the exor- 
cists ; he obeyed even when they simply moved their 
lips, or held their hand, or a handkerchief, or a book 
upon the mouth. A Calvinist having one day mingled 
secretly in the crowd, the exorcist, who was warned 
of it, commanded the demon to go and kiss his feet ; 
he went immediately, rushing through the crowd. 

vol.. I. I 


An Englishman having come from curiosity to the 
exorcist, the devil told him several particulars relating 
to his country and religion ; he was a puritan ; and the 
Englishman owned that every thing he had said was 
true. The same Englishman said to him in his lan- 
guage, *' As a proof of thy possession, tell me the name 
of my master who formerly taught me embroidety ;" 
he replied, " William." They commanded him to recite 
the Ave Maria ; he said to a Huguenot gentleman who 
was present, " Do you say it, if you know it ; for they 
don't say it amongst your people." M. PIchard relates 
several unknown and hidden things which the demon 
revealed, and that he performed several feats which 
it is not possible for any person, however agile and 
supple he may be, to achieve by natural strength or 
power ; such as crawling on the ground without making 
use of hands or feet, appearing to have the hair standing 
erect like serpents. 

After all the details concerning the exorcisms, marks 
of possession, questions and answers of the possessed, 
M. PIchard reports the authentic testimony of the 
theologians, physicians, of the bishops Eric of Lorraine, 
and Charles of Lorraine, Bishop of Verdun, of several 
monks of every order, who attest the said possession 
to be real and veritable ; and lastly, a letter from the 
Rev. Father Cotton, a Jesuit, who certifies the same 
thino;. The said letter bears date the 5th of June, 1621, 
and is in reply to the one which the Prince Eric of 
Lorraine had written to him. 

I have omitted a great many particulars related In 
the recital of the exorcisms, and the proofs of the pos- 


session of Mademoiselle de Ranfaing. I think I have 
said enongh to convince any persons who are sincere 
and unprejudiced, that her possession is as certain as 
these things can be. The affair occurred at Nancy, the 
capital of Lorraine, in the presence of a great number 
of enlightened persons, two of whom were of the house 
of Lorraine, both bishops, and well informed ; in pre- 
sence and by the orders of my Lord de Porcelets, Bishop 
of Toul, a most enlightened man, and of distinguished 
merit ; of two doctors of the Sorbonne, called thither 
expressly to judge of the reality of the possession ; in 
presence of people of the so-called Reformed religion, 
and much on their guard against things of this kind. 
It has been seen how far Father Pithoy carried his 
temerity against the possession in question ; he has 
been reprimanded by his diocesan and his superiors, 
who have imposed silence on him. 

Mademoiselle de Ranfaing is known to be personally 
a woman of extraordinary virtue, prudence, and merit. 
No reason can be imagined for her feigning a possession 
which has pained her in a thousand ways. The con- 
sequence of this terrible trial has been the establishment 
of a kind of religious order, from which the Church has 
received much edification, and from which God has 
providentially derived glory. 

M. Nicolas de Harlay Sancy and M. Viardin, are 
persons highly to be respected both for their personal 
merit, their talent, and the high offices they have filled ; 
the first having been French ambassador at Constan- 
tinople, and the other resident of the good Duke Henry 
at the Court of Rome ; so that I do not think I could 

I 2 


have given an instance more fit to convince you of 
there being real and veritable possessions than this 
of Mademoiselle de Ranfaing. 

I do not relate that of the nuns of Loudun, on which 
such various opinions have been given, the reality of 
•which was doubted at the very time, and is very pro- 
blematical to this day. Those ^vho are curious to know 
the history of that affair will find it very w^ell detailed 
in a book I have already cited, entitled, " Examen et 
Discussion Critique de I'Histoire des Diables de Loudon, 
&;c., par M. de la Menardaye," a Paris, chez de Bure 
Aine, 1749. 



Several objections may be raised against the obses- 
sions and possessions of demons ; nothing is subject to 
greater difficulties than this matter, but Providence 
constantly and uniformly permits the clearest and most 
certain truths of religion to remain enveloped in some 
degree of obscurity ; that facts the best averred and the 
most indubitable should be subject to doubts and con- 
tradictions ; that the most evident miracles should be 
disputed by some incredulous persons, on account of 
circumstances, which appear to them doubtful and 

All religion has its lights and shadows ; God has per- 
mitted it to be so in order that the just may have some- 
what to exercise their faith in believing, and the 
impious and incredulous persist in their wilful impiety 
and increduhty. The greatest mysteries of Christianity 
are to the one subjects of scandal, and to the others 
means of salvation ; the one regarding the mystery of 
the Cross as folly, and the others as the work of sub- 
llmest wisdom, and of the most admirable pov>^er of 
God. Pharaoh hardened his heart when he saw the 
wonders wrought by Moses; but the magicians of 


Egypt were at last obliged to recognise in them tlie 
hand of God. The Hebrews on sight of these wonders 
take confidence in Moses and Aaron, and yield them- 
selves to their guidance, without fearing the dangers to 
which they may be exposed. 

We have already remarked, that the demon often 
seems to act against his own interest, and destroy his 
own empire, by saying that everything which is related 
of the return of spirits, the obsessions and possessions 
of the demon, of spells, magic, and sorcery, are only 
tales wherewith to frighten children ; that they all 
have no existence except in weak and prejudiced minds. 
How can it serve the demon to maintain this, and 
destroy the general opinion of nations on all these 
things ? If in all there is only falsehood and illusion, 
what does he gain by undeceiving people ? and if there 
is any truth in them, why decry his own work, and 
take away the credit of his subordinates and liis own 
operations ? 

Jesus Christ in the Gospel refutes those who said 
that he expelled devils in the name of Beelzebub;^ he 
maintains that the accusation is unfounded, because it 
was incredible that Satan should destroy his OAvn work, 
and his own empire. The reasoning is doubtless solid 
and conclusive, above all to the Jews, who thought that 
Jesus Christ did not differ from other exorcists who 
expelled demons, unless it was that he commanded the 
prince of devils, while the others commanded only the 
subaltern demons. Now, on this supposition, the prince 
of the demons could not expel his subalterns Avitbout 
» Matt. xii. 24—27. Luke xi. 15—18. 


destroying his own empire, without decrying himself, 
and without ruining the reputation of those who only 
acted by his orders. 

It may be objected to this argument, that Jesus 
Christ supposed, as did the Jews, that the demons 
whom he expelled really possessed those whom he 
cured, in whatever manner he might cure them ; and 
consequently that the empire of the demons subsisted, 
both in Beelzebub the prince of the demons, and in the 
other demons, who were subordinate to him, and who 
obeyed his orders; thus his empire was not entirely 
destroyed, supposing that Jesus Christ expelled them 
in the name of Beelzebub ; that subordination, on the 
contrary, supposed that power or empire of the prince 
of the demons, and strengthened it. 

But Jesus Christ not only expelled demons by his 
own authority, without ever making mention of Beel- 
zebub ; he expelled them in spite of themselves, and 
sometimes they loudly complained that he was come to 
torment them before the time.^ There was neither 
collusion between him and them, nor subordination 
similar to that which might be supposed to exist 
between Beelzebub and the other demons. 

The Lord pursued them, not only in expelling them 
from bodies, but also in overthrowing their bad maxims, 
by establishing doctrines and maxims quite contrary to 
their own ; he made war upon every vice, error, and 
falsehood ; he attacked the demon face to face, every- 
where, unflinchingly ; thus it cannot be said that he 
spared him, or was in collusion with him. If the devil 

^ Matt. viii. 29. 


will sometimes pass off as chimeras and illusions all 
that is said of apparitions, obsessions and possessions, 
magic and sorcery ; and if he appears so absolutely to 
overthrow his reign, even so far as to deny the most 
marked and palpable effects of his own power and 
presence, and impute them to the weakness of mind of 
men, and their foolish prejudices; in all this he can only 
gain advantage for himself: for if he can persuade 
people of the truth of what he advances, his power will 
only be more solidly confirmed by it, since it will no 
longer be attacked, and he will be left to enjoy his con- 
quests in peace, and the ecclesiastical and secular powers 
interested in repressing the effects of his malice and 
cruelty will no longer take the trouble to make war 
upon him, and caution or put the nations on their 
guard against his stratagems and ambuscades. It will 
close the mouth of Parliaments, and stay the hand of 
judges and powers; and the simple people will become 
the sport of the demon, who will not cease continuing to 
tempt, persecute, corrupt, deceive and cause the perdi- 
tion of those who shall no longer mistrust his snares and 
his malice. The world will relapse into the same state 
as when under Paganism, given up to error, to the 
most shameful passions, and will even deny or doubt 
those truths which shall be the best attested, and the 
most necessary to our salvation. 

Moses in the Old Testament well foresaw that the 
evil spirit would set every spring to work, to lead the 
Israelites into error and unruly conduct; he foresaw 
that in the midst of the chosen people he would insti- 
gate seducers, who would predict to them the hidden 


future, which predictions would come true and be 
followed up. He always forbids their listening to any 
prophet or diviners who wished to mislead them to 
impiety or idolatry. 

TertuUian, speaking of the delusions performed by 
demons, and the foresight they have of certain events, 
says,^ that being spiritual in their nature, they find 
themselves in a moment in any place they may wish, 
and announce at a distance what they have seen and 
heard. All this is attributed to the Divinity, because 
neither the cause nor the manner is known; often, 
also, they boast of causing events, which they do but 
announce ; and it is true that often they are themselves 
the authors of the evils they predict, but never of any 
good. Sometimes they make use of the knowledge 
they have derived from the predictions of the prophets 
respecting the designs of God, and they utter them as 
coming from themselves. As they are spread abroad 
in the air, they see in the clouds what must happen, 
and thus foretel the rain which they were aware of 
before it had been felt upon earth. As to maladies, if 
they cure them, it is because they have occasioned 
them; they prescribe remedies which produce effect, 
and it is believed that they have cured maladies simply 
because they have not continued them. Quia desinunt 
Icedere, curasse credentur. 

The demon can then foresee the future and what is 
hidden, and discover them by means of his votaries ; 
he can also doubtlessly do wonderful things which 

* Tertullian does not say so much in the passage cited; on the contrary, 
he a.ffirms that we are ignorant of their nature : substantia ignoratur. 

I 3 


surpass the usual and known powers of nature ; but it 
is never done except to deceive us, and lead us into 
disorder and impiety. And even should he wear the 
semblance of leading to virtue and practising those 
things which are praiseworthy and useful to salvation, 
it would only be to win the confidence of such as 
would listen to his suggestions, to make them afterward 
fall into misfortune, and engage them in some sin of 
presumption or vanity : for as he is a spirit of malice 
and lies, it little imports to him by what means he 
surprises us, and establishes his reign among us. 

But he is very far from always foreseeing the future, 
or succeeding always in misleading us ; God has set 
bounds to his malice. He often deceives himself, and 
often makes use of disguise and perversion, that he may 
not appear to be ignorant of what he is ignorant of, or 
he will appear unwilling to do what God will not allow 
him to do ; his power is always bounded, and his know- 
ledge limited. Often, also, he will mislead and deceive 
through malice, because he is the father of falsehood. 
He deceives men, and rejoices when he sees them doing 
wrong; but not to lose his credit amongst those who 
consult him directly or indirectly, he lays the fault on 
those who undertake to interpret his words, or the 
equivocal signs which he has given. For instance, if 
he is consulted whether to begin an enterprise, or give 
battle, or set off on a journey, if the thing succeeds, 
he takes all the glory and merit to himself; if it does 
not succeed, he imputes it to the men who have not 
well understood the sense of his oracle, or to the 
aruspices, who have made mistakes in consulting the 


entrails of the immolated animals, or the flight of 
birds, &c. 

We must not, then, be surprised to find so many- 
contradictions, doubts, and difficulties, in the matter of 
apparitions, angels, demons and spirits. Man naturally 
loves to distinguish himself from the common herd, and 
rise above the opinions of the people ; it is a sort of 
fashion not to suffer one's self to be drawn along by the 
torrent, and to desire to sound and examine every- 
thing. We know that there is an infinity of prejudices, 
errors, vulgar opinions, false miracles, illusions and 
seductions in the world ; we know that many things 
are attributed to the devil which are purely natural, or 
that a thousand apocryphal stories are related. It is 
then right to hold one's self on one's guard, in order 
not to be deceived. It is very important for religion to 
distinguish between true and false mii'acles, certain or 
uncertain events, and works wrought by the hand of 
God, from those which are the work of the seducing 

In all that he does, the demon mixes up a great 
many illusions amid some truths, in order that the 
difficulty of discerning the true from the false may 
make mankind take the side which pleases them most, 
and that the incredulous may always have some points 
to maintain them in their incredulity. Although the 
apparitions of spirits, angels, and demons, and their 
operations, may not, perhaps, always be miraculous, 
nevertheless, as the greater part appear above the com- 
mon course of nature, many of the persons of whom 
we have just spoken, without giving themselves the 


trouble to examine the things, and seek for the causes 
of them, the authors, and the circumstances, boldly 
take upon themselves to deny them all. It is the 
shortest way, but neither the most sensible, nor the 
most rational ; for in what is said on this subject, there 
are effects which can be reasonably attributed to the 
Almighty power of God alone, who acts immediately, 
or makes secondary causes act to his glory, for the 
advancement of religion, and the manifestation of the 
truth ; and other effects there are, which bear visibly 
the character of illusion, impiety, and seduction, and in 
which it would seem that instead of the finger of God, 
we can observe only the marks of the spirit of deceit 
and falsehood. 




We read in works, published and printed, composed 
by Catholic authors of our days,^ that it is proved by 
reason, that possessions of the demon are naturally 
impossible, and that it is not true in regard to ourselves 
and our ideas, that the demon can have any natural 
power over the corporeal world; that as soon as we 
admit in the created wills a power to act upon bodies, 
and to move them, it is impossible to set bounds to it, 
and that this power is truly infinite. 

They maintain that the demon can act upon our 
souls simply by means of suggestion ; that it is impos- 
sible the demon should be the physical cause of the 
least external effect ; that all the Scripture tells us of 
the snares and stratagems of Satan signifies nothing 
more than the temptations of the flesh and concupiscence; 
and that to seduce us, the demon requires only mental 
suggestions. His is a moral, not a physical power ; in 
a word, that the demon can do neither good nor harm ; that 
his might is nought ; that we do not know if God has 

* See the letter of the Bishop of Senez, printed at Utrecht, in 1736, 
and the works that he therein cites and refutes. 


given to any other spirit than the soul of man the 
power to move the body; that on the contrary, we 
ought to presume that the wisdom of God has willed 
that pure spirits should have no commerce with the 
body ; they maintain moreover that the pagans never 
knew what we call bad angels and demons. 

All these propositions are certainly contrary to Scrip- 
ture, to the opinions of the Fathers, and to the tradition 
of the Catholic Church. But these gentlemen do not 
trouble themselves about that ; they affirm that the 
sacred writers have often expressed themselves accord- 
ing to the opinions of their time, whether because the 
necessity of making themselves understood forced them 
to conform to it, or that they themselves had adopted 
those opinions. There is, says they, more likelihood 
that several infirmities which the Scripture has ascribed 
to the demon had simply a natural cause ; that in these 
places the sacred authors have spoken according to 
vulgar opinions ; the error of this language is of no 

The prophets of Saul, and Saul himself, were never 
what are properly termed Prophets ; they might be 
attacked with those (fits) which the pagans call sacred. 
You must be asleep when you read, not to see that the 
temptation of Eve is only an allegory. It is the same 
with the permission given by God to Satan to tempt 
Job. Why wish to explain the w^hole book of Job 
literally, and as a true history, since its beginning is 
only a fiction ? It is anything but certain that Jesus 
Christ w^as transported by the demon to the highest 
pinnacle of the temple. 


The Fathers were prepossessed on one side by the 
reigning Ideas of the philosophy of Pythagoras and 
Plato on the influences of mean Intelligences, and on 
the other hand by the language of the holy books, 
which to conform to popular opinions often ascribed 
to the demon effects which were purely natural. We 
must then return to the doctrine of reason to decide on 
the submission which we ought to pay to the authority 
of the Scriptures and the Fathers concerning the power 
of the demons. 

The uniform method of the Holy Fathers in the 
interpretations of the Old Testament is human opinion, 
whence one can appeal to the tribunal of reason. They 
go so far as to say that the sacred authors were informed 
of the Metempsychosis, as the author of the Book of 
Wisdom, chap. viii. 19, 20 : "I was an innocent child, 
and I received a good spirit ; and as I was already 
good, I entered into an uncorrupted body." 

Persons of this temper will certainly not read this 
work of ours, or, if they do read it, it will be with 
contempt or pity. I do not think it necessary to refute 
those paradoxes here ; the Bishop of Senez has done it 
with his usual erudition and zeal, in a long letter 
l^rinted at Utrecht in 1736. I do not deny that the 
sacred writers may sometimes have spoken in a popular 
manner, and in accordance with the prejudice of the 
people. But it is carrying things too far to reduce the 
power of the demon to being able to act upon us only 
by means of suggestion ; and it is a presumption 
unworthy of a philosopher, to decide on the power of 
spirits over bodies, having no knowledge, either by 


revelation or by reason, of the extent of the power of 
angels and demons over matter, and human bodies. 
We may exceed due measure by granting them exces- 
sive power, as well as in not according them enough. 
But it is of infinite importance to Religion to discern 
justly between what is natural, or supernatural, in the 
operations of angels and demons, that the simple may not 
be left in error, nor the wicked triumph over the truth, 
and make a bad use of their own wit and knowledge, to 
render doubtful what is certain, and deceiving both 
themselves and others by ascribing to chance or illusion 
of the senses, or a vain prepossession of the mind, what 
is said of the apparitions of angels, demons, and deceased 
persons ; since it is certain that several of these appari- 
tions are quite true, although there may be a great 
number of others that are very uncertain, and even 
manifestly false. 

I shall therefore make no diflSculty in owning that 
even miracles, at least things that appear such, the 
prediction of future events, movements of the body 
which appear beyond the usual powers of nature, to 
speak and understand ' foreign languages unknown 
before, to penetrate the thoughts, discover concealed 
things, to be raised up, and transported in a moment 
from one place to another, to announce truths, lead 
a good life externally, preach Jesus Christ, decry 
magic and sorcery, make an outward profession of 
virtue ; I readily own that all these things may not 
prove invincibly that all who perform them are sent by 
God, or that these operations are real miracles ; yet we 
cannot reasonably suppose the demon to be mixed up 


in them by God's permission, or that the demons or the 
angels do not act upon those persons who perform pro- 
dio-les, and foretel things to come, or who can penetrate 
the thoughts of the heart, or that God himself does 
not produce these effects by the immediate action of 
his justice or his might. 

The examples which have been cited, or which may 
be cited hereafter, will never prove that man can of 
himself penetrate the sentiments of another, or discover 
his secret thoughts. The wonders worked by the 
magicians of Pharaoh were only illusion; they appeared, 
however, to be true miracles, and passed for such in the 
eyes of the King of Egypt and all his court. Balaam, 
the son of Beor, was a true Prophet, although a man 
whose morals were very corrupt. 

Pomponatlus writes, that the wife of Francis Maigret, 
savetler of Mantua, spoke divers languages, and was 
cured by Calderon, a physician, famous in his time, who 
gave her a potion of Hellebore. Erasmus says also^ 
that he had seen an Italian, a native of Spoletta, who 
spoke German very well, although he had never been in 
Germany ; they gave him a medicine which caused him 
to eject a quantity of worms, and he was cured so as 
not to speak German any more. 

Le Loyer, in his Book of Spectres^ avows that all 
those things appear to him much to be doubted. He 
rather believes Fernel, one of the gravest physicians of 
his age, who maintains '^ that there is not such power 

^ Erasm. Orat. de Laudibus Medicinse. 
«= Le Loyer, lib. de Spec. cap. ii. p. 288. 
^ Fernel, de abditis Rerum Causis, lib. ii. c. 26. 


in medicine, and brings forward as an instance the 
history of a young gentleman, the son of a Knight of 
the Order, who being seized upon by the demon, could 
be cured neither by potions, by medicines, or by diet, 
{i.e, fasting,) but who was cured by the conjurations 
and exorcisms of the Church. 

As to the reality of the return of souls, or spirits, 
and their apparitions, the Sorbonne, the most celebrated 
school of theology in France, has always believed that 
the spirits of the defunct returned sometimes, either by 
the order and power of God, or by his permission. The 
Sorbonne confessed this in its decisions of the year 
1518, and still more positively the 23d of January, 
1724. Nos respondemiis testrce petitioni animas defunc-^ 
torum divinitus, seu dimnd 'cirtute, ordinatione aut per- 
missione interdum ad vivas redire exploratum esse. Several 
jurisconsults and several sovereign companies have 
decreed that the apparition of a deceased person in a 
house could suffice to break up the lease. TTe may 
count it for much, to have proved to certain persons 
that there is a God whose providence extends over all 
things past, present, and to come ; that there is another 
life, that there are good and bad spirits, rewards for 
good works, and punishments after this life for sins ; 
that Jesus Christ has ruined the power of Satan ; that 
he exercise'd in himself, in his Apostles, and continues 
to exercise in the ministers of his Church, an absolute 
empire over the infernal powers ; that the devil is now 
chained ; he may bark and threaten, but he can bite 
only those who approach him, and voluntarily give 
themselves up to him. 


We have seen in these parts a woman who followed 
a band of mountebanks and jugglers, who stretched out 
her legs in such an extraordinary manner, and raised 
up her feet to her head, before and behind, with as 
much suppleness as if she had had neither nerves nor 
joints. There was nothing supernatural in all that ; 
she had exercised herself from extreme youth in these 
movements, and had contracted the habit of performing 

St. Augustine^ speaks of a soothsayer whom he had 
known at Carthage, an illiterate man, who could dis- 
cover the secrets of the heart, and replied to those who 
consulted him on secret and unknown affairs. He had 
himself made an experiment on him, and took to witness 
St. Alypius, Licentius, and Trygnius, his interlocutors 
in his Dialogue against the Academicians. They, like 
him, had consulted Albicerius, and had admired the 
certainty of his replies. He gives as an instance, a 
spoon which had been lost. They told him that some 
one had lost something; and he instantly, without 
hesitation, replied that such a thing was lost, that such 
a one had taken it, and had hid it in such a place, which 
was found to be quite true. 

They sent him a certain quantity of pieces of silver ; 
he who was charged to carry them had taken away 
some of them. He made the person return them, and 
perceived the theft before the money had been shown 
to him. St. Augustine was present. A learned and 
distinguished man, named Flaccianus, wishing to buy 
a field, consulted the soothsayer, who declared to him 
« August, contra Academic, lib. ii. art, 17, 18. 


the name of the land, which was very extraordinary, 
and gave him all the details of the affair in question. 
A young student, wishing to prove Albicerius, begged 
of him to declare to him what he was thinking of; he 
told him he was thinking of a verse of Virgil, and, as 
he then asked him which verse it was, the diviner 
repeated it instantly, though he had never studied the 
Latin lano^uaoce. 

This Albicerius was a scoundrel, as St. Augustine 
says, who calls him flagitiosum hominem. The know- 
ledge which he had of hidden things was not, doubtless, 
a gift of heaven, any more than the Pythonic spirit 
which animated that maid in the Acts of the Apostles 
whom St. Paul obliged to keep silence.^ It was then 
the work of the evil spirit. 

The gift of tongues, the knowledge of the future, 
and power to divine the thoughts of others, are always 
adduced, and with reason, as solid proofs of the presence 
and inspiration of the Holy Spirit; but if the demon can 
sometimes perform the same things, he does it to mislead 
and induce sin, or simply to render true prophecies 
doubtful : but never to lead to truth, the fear and love 
of God, and the edification of those around. God 
may allow such corrupt men as Balaam, and such 
rascals as Albicerius, to have some knowledge of the 
future, and secret things, and even of the hidden 
thoughts of men; but he never permits their crimi- 
nality to remain unrevealed to the end, and so become 
a stumbling-block for simple or worthy people. The 
malice of these hypocritical and corrupt men will be 

^ Actsxvi. 16. 


made manifest sooner or later by some means; their 
malice and depravity will be found out, by which it 
will be judged, either that they are inspired only by 
the evil spirit, or that the Holy Spirit makes use of 
their agency to foretel some truth, as he prophesied by 
Balaam, and by Caiphas. Their morals and their con- 
duct -will throw discredit on them, and oblige us to be 
careful in discerning between their true predictions 
and their bad example. We have seen hypocrites wha 
died with the reputation of being worthy people, and 
who at bottom were scoundrels, as, for instance, that 
cure, the director of the nuns of Louviers, whose pos- 
session w^as so much talked of. 

Jesus Christ in the Gospel tells us to be on our 
guard against wolves in sheep's clothing ; and, else- 
where, he tells us that there will be false Christs and 
false prophets, who will prophesy in his name, and 
perform wonders capable of deceiving th every elect 
themselves, were it possible. But he refers us to their 
works to distinguish them. 

To apply all these things to the possessed nuns of 
Loudun, and to Mademoiselle de Kanfaing, even to 
that girl whose hypocrisy was unmasked by Mademoi- 
selle Acarie, I appeal to their works, and their conduct 
both before and after. 

God will not allow those w^ho sincerely seek the 
truth to be deceived. 

A juggler will guess which card you have touched, 
or even simply thought of; but it is known that there 
is nothing supernatural in that, and that it is done by 


the combination of the cards accordins; to mathematical 
rules. We have seen a deaf man who understood what 
they wished to say to him by simply observing the 
motion of the lips of those who spoke. There is 
nothing more miraculous in this than in two persons 
conversing together by signs upon which they have 



If aU that is related of spirits whicli are per- 
ceived in houses, in the cavities of mountains^ and in 
mines, is certain, we cannot disavow that they also 
must be placed in the rank of apparitions of the evil 
spirit ; for although they usually do neither wrong nor 
violence to any one, unless they are irritated or receive 
abusive words ; nevertheless we do not read that they 
lead to the love or fear of God, to prayer, piety, or acts 
of devotion ; it is known, on the contrary, that they 
show a distaste to those things, so that we shall place 
them in earnest among the spirits of darkness. 

I do not find that the ancient Hebrews knew any- 
thing of what we call esprits follets, or familiar spirits, 
which infest houses, or attach themselves to certain 
persons, to serve them, watch over and warn them, and 
guard them from danger; such as the demon of 
Socrates, who warned him to avoid certain misfor- 
tunes. Some other examples are also related of 
persons who said they had similar Genii attached to 
their persons. 

The Jews and Christians confess that every one of 
us has his good angel, who guides him from his early 


youth.^ Several of the ancients have thought that we 
have also our evil angel, who leads us into error. The 
Psalmist^' says distinctly, that God has commanded his 
angels to guide us in all our ways. But this is not 
what we understand here under the name of esprits 

The prophets in some places speak of fauns, or 
hairif men, or satyrs, who have some resemblance to 
our elves. 

Isaiah,^ speaking of the state to which Babylon shall 
be reduced after her destruction, says that the ostriches 
shall make it their dwelling, and that the hairy men, 
jnlosi, the satyrs, and goats, shall dance there. And 
elsewhere the same prophet says,'^ Occurrent dcemonia 
onocentauris etpilosus clamabit alter ad alterum, by which 
clever interpreters understand spectres which appear in 
the shape of goats. Jeremiah calls them fauns — the 
dragons with the fauns, which feed upon figs. But 
this is not the place for us to go more fully into the 
signification of the terms of the original ; it suflSces for 
us to show, that in the Scripture, at least in the Vul- 
gate, are found the names of lamice, fauns, and satyrs, 
which have some resemblance to esprits follets. 

Cassian,^ who had studied deeply the lives of the 
fathers of the desert, and who had been much with 
the hermits or anchorites of Egypt, speaking of divers 
sorts of demons, mentions some which they commonly 
called /a WW5 or satyrs, which the pagans regard as kinds 

* Matt, xviii. 10. * Psalm xc. 11. 

^ Isai. xiii. 22. Pilosi saltabunt ibi. '' Isai. xxxiv. 15. 

« Cassian, Collat. vii. c. 23. 


of divinities of the fields or groves, who delighted, not 
so much in tormenting or doing harm to mankind, as in 
deceiving and fatiguing them, diverting themselves at 
their expense, and sporting with their simplicity/ 

Pliny s the younger had a freed-man named Marcus, 
a man of letters, who slept in the same bed with his 
brother, who was younger than himself. It seemed to 
him that he saw a person sitting on the same bed, who 
was cutting ofi" his hair from the crown of his head. 
When he awoke, he found his head shorn of hair, and 
his hair thrown on the ground in the middle of the 
chamber. A little time after, the same thing happened 
to a youth who slept with several others at a school. 
This one saw two men dressed in white come in at the 
window, who cut off his hair as he slept, and then went 
out by the same window: on awaking, he found his 
hair scattered about on the floor. To what can these 
things be attributed, if not to an elf ? 

Plotinus,^ a Platonic philosopher, had, it is said, a 
familiar demon, who obeyed him from the moment he 
called him, and was superior in his nature to the com- 
mon genii ; he was of the order of gods, and Plotinus 
paid continual attention to this divine guardian. This 
it was which led him to undertake a work on the 
demon which belongs to each of us in particular. He 
endeavours to explain the difference between the genii 
which watch over men. 

^ "Quos seductores et joculatores esse manifestum est, ciim nequa- 
quam tor mentis eorum, quos prtetereuntes potuerint decipere, oblec- 
tentur, sed de risu tantum modd et illusione contenti, fatigare potiiis, 
studeant, qu£lm nocere." 

^ Plin. i. 7. Epist. 27, suiv. •> Life of Plotin. art. x. 

VOL. I. K 


Trlthemlus, in his Chronicon Hirsaugijise/ under the 
year 1130, relates, that in the diocese of Hildesheim, in 
Saxony, they saw for some time a spirit which they 
called in German heideki7id, as if they would say, rural 
geniusy heide signifying vast country, hind, child (or boy). 
He appeared sometimes in one form, sometimes in 
another; and sometimes without appearing at all, he 
did several things by which he proved both his presence 
and his power. He chose sometimes to give very im- 
portant advice to those in power; and often he has 
been seen in the Bishop's kitchen, helping the cooks 
and doing sundry jobs. 

A young scullion, who had grown familiar with him, 
having offered him some insults, he warned the head 
cook of it, who made light of it, or thought nothing 
about it ; but the spirit avenged himself cruelly. This 
youth having fallen asleep in the kitchen, the spirit 
stifled him, tore him to pieces, and roasted him. He 
carried his fury still further against the officers of the 
kitchen, and the other officers of the prince. The 
thing went on to such a point, that they were obliged 
to proceed against him by (ecclesiastical) censures, 
and to constrain him by exorcisms to go out of the 

I think I may put amongst the number of elves the 
spirits which are seen, they say, in mines and moun- 
tain caves. They appear clad like the miners, run here 
and there, appear in haste as if to work and seek the 
veins of mineral ore, lay it in heaps, draw it out, tum- 

* Chron. Hirsang. ad ann. 1130. 


ing the wheel of the crane ; they seem to be very busy 
helping the workmen, and at the same time they do 
nothing at all. 

These spirits are not mischievous, unless they are 
insulted and laughed at ; for then they fall into an ill 
humour, and throw things at those who offend them. 
One of these genii, who had been addressed in injurious 
terms by a miner, twisted his neck, and placed his 
head the hind part before. The miner did not die, 
but remained all his life with his neck twisted and 
awry. • 

George Agricola,^ who has treated very learnedly on 
mines, metals, and the, manner of extracting them from 
the bowels of the earth, mentions two or three sorts of 
spirits which appear in mines. Some are very small, 
and resemble dwarfs or pygmies ; the others are like old 
men dressed like miners, having their shirts tucked up, 
and a leathern apron round their loins ; others perform, 
or seem to perform, what they see others do, are very 
gay, do no harm to any one, but from all their labours 
nothing real results. 

In other mines are seen dangerous spirits, who ill- 
use the workmen, hunt them away, and sometimes kill 
them, and thus constrain them to forsake mines which 
are very rich and abundant. For instance, at Anne- 
berg, in a mine called Crown of Rose, a spirit in the 
shape of a spirited, snorting horse, killed twelve miners, 
and obliged those who worked the mine to abandon the 
undertaking, though it brought them in a great deal. 

^ Geo. Agricola, de Minei-al. Subterran. p. 504. 
K 2 


In another mine, called St. Gregory, in Siveberg, there 
appeared a spirit whose head was covered with a black 
hood, and he seized a miner, raised him up to a con- 
siderable height, then let him fall, and hurt him 

Olaus Magnus^ says, that in Sweden and other 
northern countries, they saw formerly familiar spirits, 
which, under the form of men or women, waited on 
certain persons. He speaks of certain nymphs dwelling 
in caverns and in the depths of the forest, who announce 
things to come ; some are good, others bad ; they appear 
and speak to those who consult them. Travellers and 
shepherds also often see during the night divers 
phantoms which bum the spot where they appear, 
so that henceforward neither grass nor verdure are 
seen there. 

He says, that the people of Finland, before their con- 
version to Christianity, sold the winds to sailors, giving 
them a string with three knots, and warning them that 
by untying the first knot they would have a gentle and 
favourable wind, at the second knot a stronger wind, 
and at the third knot a violent and dangerous gale. He 
says moreover, that the Bothnians, striking on an anvil 
hard blows with a hammer, upon a frog or a serpent of 
brass, fall down in a swoon, and during this swoon they 
learn what passes in very distant places. 

But all those things have more relation to magic than 
to familiar spirits ; and if what is said about them be 
true, it must be ascribed to the evil spirit. 

1 Olaus Mag. lib. iii. Hist. 5, 9—14. 


The same Olaus Magnus °^ says, that in mines, above 
all in silver mines, from which great profit may be 
expected, six sorts of demons may be seen, who under 
divers forms labour at breaking the rocks, drawing the 
buckets, and turning the wheels ; who sometimes burst 
into laughter, and play different tricks ; all of which are 
merely to deceive the miners, whom they crush under 
the rocks, or expose to the most imminent dangers, to 
make them utter blasphemy, and swear and curse. 
Several very rich mines have been obliged to be disused 
through fear of these dangerous spirits. 

Notwithstanding all that we have just related, I doubt 
very much if there are any spirits in mountain caves or 
in mines. I have interrogated on the subject people of 
the trade and miners by profession, of whom there is 
a great number in our mountains, the Yosges, who have 
assured me, that all which is related on that point is 
fabulous ; that if sometimes they see these elves or 
grotesque figures, it must be attributed to a heated and 
prepossessed imagination ; or else that the circumstance 
is so rare, that it ought not to be repeated as something 
usual or common. 

A new " Traveller in the Northern Countries," 
printed at Amsterdam in 17(38, says, that the people of 
Iceland are almost all conjurors or sorcerers ; that they 
have familiar demons, whom they call troles, who wait 
upon them as servants, and warn them of the accidents 
or illnesses which are to happen to them ; they awake 
them to go a-fishing when the season is favourable, and 

«" Olaus Mag. lib. vi. c. 9. 


if they go for that purpose without the advice of these 
genii, they do not succeed. There are some persons 
among these people who evoke the dead, and make 
them appear to those who wish to consult them : they 
also conjure up the appearance of the absent far from 
the spot where they dwell. 

Father Vadingue relates, after an old manuscript 
legend, that a lady named Lupa, had had during 
thirteen years a familiar demon, who served her as a 
waiting-woman, and led her into many secret irregu- 
larities, and induced her to treat her servants with 
inhumanity. God gave her grace to see her fault, and 
to do penance for it, by the intercession of St. Francois 
d' Assise and St. Anthony of Padua, to whom she had 
always felt particular devotion. 

Cardan speaks of a bearded demon of Niphus, who 
gave him lessons of philosophy. 

Agrippa had a demon who waited upon him in the 
shape of a dog. This dog, says Paulus Jovius, seeing 
his master about to expire, threw himself into the 

Much is said of certain spirits^ which are kept 
confined in rings, that are bought, sold or exchanged. 
They speak also of a crystal ring, in which the demon 
represented the objects desired to be seen. 

Some also speak highly of those enchanted mirrors," 
in which children see the face of a robber who is sought 
for ; others will see it in their nails ; all which can only 
be diabolical illusions. 

" Le Loyer, p. 474. <> Ibid. liv. ii, p. 258. 


Le Loyer relates,? that when he was studying the 
law at Thoulouse, he was lodged near a house where 
an elf never ceased all the night to draw water from 
the well, making the pulley creak all the while; at 
other times he seemed to drag something heavy up the 
stairs ; but he very rarely entered the rooms, and then 
he made but little noise. 

p Le Loyer, p. 550. 



On the 25th of August, 1746, I received a letter 
from a very worthy man, the cure of the parish of 
Walsche, a village situated in the mountains of Voges, 
in the county of Dabo, or Dasburg, in Lower Alsatia, 
diocese of Metz. In this letter he tells me, that the 
10th of June, 1740, at eight o'clock in the morning, 
he being in his kitchen, with his niece and the servant, 
he saw on a sudden an iron pot that was placed on the 
ground turn round three or four times, without its 
being set in motion by any one. A moment after, a 
stone, weighing about a pound, was thrown from the 
next room into the same kitchen, in presence of the 
same persons, without their seeing the hand which 
threw it. The next day, at nine o'clock in the morn- 
ing, some panes of glass were broken, and through 
these panes were thrown some stones, with what 
appeared to them supernatural dexterity. The spirit 
never hurt any body, and never did any thing in the 
night time, but always during the day. The cure 
employed the prayers marked out in the ritual to bless 
his house, and thenceforth the genius broke no more 


panes of glass ; but he continued to throw stones at 
the cure's people, without hurting them, however. If 
they fetched water from the fountain, he threw stones 
into the bucket ; and afterwards he began to serve in 
the kitchen. One day, as the servant was planting 
some cabbages in the garden, he pulled them up as 
fast as she planted them, and laid them in a heap. It 
was in vain that she stormed, threatened, and swore in 
the German style ; the genius continued to play his 

One day, when a bed in the garden had been dug 
and prepared, the spade was found thrust two feet deep 
into the ground, without any trace being seen of him 
who had thus stuck it in ; but they observed that on 
the spade was a ribbon, and by the spade were two 
pieces of two soles, which the girl had locked up the 
evenino; before in a little box. Sometimes he took 
pleasure in displacing the earthenware and pewter, and 
putting it either all round the kitchen, or in the porch, 
or even in the cemetery, and always in broad daylight. 
One day he filled an iron pot with wild herbs, bran, 
and leaves of trees, and, having put some water in it, 
carried it to the alley or walk in the garden ; another 
time he suspended it to the pothook, over the fire. 
The servant having broken two eggs into a little dish 
for the cure's supper, the genius broke two more into 
it in his presence, the maid having merely turned to 
get some salt. The cure having gone to say mass, on 
his return found all his earthenware, furniture, lineo, 
bread, milk, and other things, scattered about over 
the house. 

K 3 


Sometimes tlie spirit would form circles on the paved 
floor, at one time witli stones, at another with corn or 
leaves, and in a moment, before the eyes of all present, 
all was overturned and deransred. Tired with these 
games, the cure sent for the mayor of the place, and 
told him he was resolved to quit the parsonage house. 
Whilst this was passing, the cure's niece came in, and 
told them that the genius had torn up the cabbages in 
the garden, and had put some money in a hole in the 
ground. They went there, and found things exactly 
as she had said. They picked up the money, which 
was what the cure had put away in a place not locked 
up ; and in a moment after they found it anew, with 
some liards, two by two, scattered about the kitchen. 

The agents of the Count de Linange being arrived 
at Walsche, went to the cure's house, and persuaded 
him that it was all the effect of a spell ; they told him 
to take two pistols, and fire them off at the place 
where he might observe there were any movements. 
The genius at the same moment threw out of the 
pocket of one of these officers two pieces of silver ; and 
from that time he was no longer perceived in the 

The circumstance of two pistols terminating the 
scenes with which the elf had disturbed the good cure, 
made him believe that this tormenting imp was no 
other than a certain bad parishioner, whom the cure 
had been obliged to send away from his parish, and 
who to revenge himself had done all that we have 
related. If that be the case, he had rendered himself 
invisible, or he had had credit enough to send in his 


stead a familiar genius who puzzled the cure for 
some weeks ; for if he were not bodily in this house, 
what had he to fear from any pistol shot which might 
have been fired at him ? And if he was there bodily, 
how could he render himself invisible ? 

I have been told several times that a monk of the 
Cistercian order had a familiar genius who attended 
upon him, arranged his chamber, and prepared every 
thing ready for him when he was coming back from 
the country. They were so accustomed to this, that 
they expected him home by these signs, and he always 
arrived. It is affirmed of another monk of the same 
order, that he had a familiar spirit, who warned him, 
not only of what passed in the house, but also of what 
happened out of it ; and one day he was awakened 
three times, and warned that some monks were quar- 
relling, and were ready to come to blows ; he ran to 
the spot, and put an end to the dispute. 

St. Sulpicius Severus* relates, that St. Martin often 
had conversations with the Holy Virgin, and other 
saints, and even with the demons and false gods of 
paganism ; he talked with them, and learned from them 
many secret things. One day, when a council was 
being held at Mmes, where he had not thought proper 
to be present, but the decisions of which he desired to 
know, being in a boat with St. Sulpicius, but apart 
from others, as usual with him, an angel appeared, 
and informed him what had passed in this assembly of 
bishops. Inquiry was made as to the day and hour 
when the council was held, and it was found to be at 
» St. Sulpit. Sever. Dialog, ii. c. 14, 15. 


the same hour at which the angel had appeared to 

We have been told several times that a young eccle- 
siastic, in a seminary at Paris, had a genius who 
waited upon him, and arranged his room and his 
clothes. One day, when the superior was passing by 
the chamber of this seminarist, he heard him talkino- 
with some one; he entered, and asked who he was 
conversing with. The youth affinned that there was 
no one in his room, and, in fact, the superior could 
neither see nor discover any one there. Nevertheless, 
as he had heard their conversation, the young man 
owned that for some years he had been attended by a 
familiar genius, who rendered him every service that 
a domestic could have done, and had promised him 
great advantages in the ecclesiastical profession. The 
superior pressed him to give some proofs of what he 
said. He ordered the genius to set a chair for the 
superior ; the genius obeyed. Information of this was 
sent to the archbishop, who did not think proper to 
give it publicity. The young clerk was sent away, 
and this singular adventure was buried in silence. 

Bodin^ speaks of a person of his acquaintance, who 
was still living at the time he wrote, which was in 
1588. This person had a familiar, who from the age 
of thirty-seven had given him good advice respecting 
his conduct, sometimes to correct his faults, sometimes 
to make him practise virtue, or to assist him; resolving 
the difficulties which he might find in reading holy 
books, or giving him good counsel upon his own affairs. 
^ Bodin Demonomania, lib. ii. c. 2. 


He usually rapped at his door at three or four o'clock 
in the morning to awaken him; and as that person 
mistrusted all these things, fearing that it might be an 
evil angel, the spirit showed himself in broad day, 
striking gently on a glass bowl, and then upon a bench. 
When he desired to do any thing good and useful, the 
spirit touched his right ear; but if it was anything 
wrong and dangerous, he touched his left ear ; so that 
from that time nothing occurred to him of which he 
was not warned beforehand. Sometimes he heard his 
voice ; and one day, when he found his life in imminent 
danger, he saw his genius, under the form of a child 
of extraordinary beauty, who saved him from it. 

William, Bishop of Paris, <= says that he knew a rope- 
dancer who had a familiar spirit, which played and 
joked with him, and prevented him from sleeping, 
throwing something against the wall, dragging off the 
bed-clothes, or pulling him about when he was in bed. 
We know by the account of a very sensible person, 
that it has happened to him in the open country, and 
in the day time, to feel his cloak and boots pulled at, 
and his hat thrown down ; then he heard the bursts of 
laughter and the voice of a person deceased and well 
known to him, who seemed to rejoice at it. 

The discovery of things hidden or unknown, which 
is made in dreams, or otherwise, can hardly be as- 
cribed to any thing but to familiar spirits. A man 
who did not know a word of Greek came to M. de 
Saumaise, senior, a counsellor of the parliament of 
Dijon, and showed him these words, which he had 
<= Guillelm. Paris. 2 Part, qusest. 2. c. 8. 


heard in the night, as he slept, and which he wrote 
down in French characters on awaking : '^ Apithi ouc 
osphraine ten sen apsychian.^^ He asked him what that 
meant. M. de Saumaise told him it meant, " Save 
yourself; do you not perceive the death with which 
you are threatened?" Upon this hint, the man re- 
moved, and left his house, which fell down the following 
night. ^ 

The same story is related, with a little difference, by 
another author, who says that the circumstance hap- 
pened at Paris f that the genius spoke in Syriac, and 
that M. de Saumaise being consulted, replied, "Go 
out of your house, for it will fall in ruins to-day, at 
nine o'clock in the evening.'' It is but too much the 
custom in recitinsr stories of this kind to add a few cir- 
cumstances by way of embellishment. 

Gassendy, in the Life of M. Peiresch, relates, that 
M. Peiresch, going one day to Nismes, with one of his 
friends, named M. Rainier, the latter, having heard 
Peiresch talking in his sleep in the night, waked him, 
and asked him what he said. Peiresch answered him, 
"I dreamed that, being at Nismes, a jeweller had 
offered me a medal of Julius Caesar, for which he asked 
four crowns, and as I was going to count him down his 
money, you waked me, to my great regret." They 
arrived at Nismes, and going about the town, Peiresch 
recognised the goldsmith whom he had seen in his 

d Grot. Epist. Part ii. Ep. 405. 

^ They affirm that it happened at Dijon, in the family of the MM. 
Surmin, in which a constant tradition has perpetuated the memory of 
the circumstance. 


dream; and on tis asking him if he had nothing 
curious, the goldsmith told him he had a gold medal, or 
coin, of Julius Cassar. Peiresch asked him how much 
he esteemed it worth; he replied, four crowns. Peiresch 
paid them, and was delighted to see his dream so hap- 
pily accomplished. 

Here is a dream much more singular than the pre- 
ceding, although a little in the same style.^ A learned 
man of Dijon, after having wearied himself all day with 
an important passage in a Greek poet, without being 
able to comprehend it at all, went to bed thinking of 
this difficulty. During his sleep, his genius transported 
him in spirit to Stockholm, introduced him into the 
j)alace of Queen Christina, conducted him into the 
library, and showed him a small volume, which was 
precisely what he sought. He opened it, read in it ten 
or twelve Greek verses, which absolutely cleared up 
the difficulty which had so long beset him ; he awoke, 
and wrote down the verses he had seen at Stockholm. 
On the morrow, he wrote to M. Descartes, who was 
then in Sweden, and begged of him to look in such a 
place, and in such a division of the library, if the book, 
of which he sent him the description, were there, and 
if the Greek verses which he sent him were to be read 
in it. 

M. Descartes replied, that he had found the book in 
question, and also the verses he had sent were in the 
place he pointed out ; that one of his friends had pro- 
mised him a copy of that work, and he would send it 
him by the first opportunity. 

' Continuation of the Count de Gabalis, at the Hague, 1708, p. 65. 


We have already said something of the spirit, or 
familiar genius of Socrates, which prevented him from 
doing certain things, but did not lead him to do 
others. It is asserted ^ that after the defeat of the 
Athenian army, commanded by Laches, Socrates, flying 
like the others, with this Athenian general, and being 
arrived at a spot where several roads met, Socrates 
would not follow the road taken by the other fugitives, 
and when they asked him the reason, he replied, be- 
cause his genius drew him away from it. The event 
justified his foresight. All those who had taken the 
other road were either killed or made prisoners by the 
enemy's cavalry. 

It is doubtful whether the elves, of which so many 
things are related, are good or bad spirits ; for the faith 
of the Church admits nothing between these two kinds 
of genii. Every genius is either good or bad ; but as 
there are in heaven many mansions, as the Gospel 
says,^ and as there are among the blessed various 
degrees of glory, diifering from each other, so we may 
believe that there are in hell various degrees of pain 
and punishment for the damned and the demons. 

But are they not rather magicians, who render them- 
selves invisible, and divert themselves in disquieting 
the living? Why do they attach themselves to certain 
spots and certain persons rather than to others ? Why 
do they make themselves perceptible only during a 
certain time, and that sometimes a short space ? 

I could willingly conclude that what is said of them 
is mere fancy and prejudice ; but their reality has been 
s Cicero, de Divinat. lib. i. ^ John xiv. 2. 


SO often experienced by the discourse they have held, 
and the actions they have performed in the presence of 
many wise and enlightened persons, that I cannot per- 
suade myself that among the great number of stories 
related of them, there are not at least some of them 

It may be remarked that these elves never lead one 
to any thing good, to prayer, or piety, to the love of 
God, or to godly and serious actions. If they do 
no other harm, they leave hurtful doubts about the 
punishments of the damned, on the efficacity of prayer 
and exorcisms ; if they hurt not those men or animals 
which are found on the spot where they may be per- 
ceived, it is because God sets bounds to their malice 
and power. The demon has a thousand ways of 
deceiving us. All those to whom these genii attach 
themselves have a horror of them, mistrust and fear 
them; and it rarely happens that these familiar demons 
do not lead them to a dangerous end, unless they 
deliver themselves from them by grave acts of religion 
and penance. 

There is the story of a spirit, 'Svhich," says he who 
wrote it to me, " I no more doubt the truth of, than if 
I had been a witness of it." Count Despilliers, the 
father, being a young man, and captain of cuirassiers, 
was in winter quarters in Flanders. One of his men 
came to him one day, to beg that he would change his 
landlord, saying, that every night there came into his 
bedroom a spirit, which would not allow him to sleep. 
The Count Despilliers sent him away, and laughed at 
his simplicity. Some days after, the same horseman 


came back and made the same request to him; the only- 
reply of the captain would have been a volley of blows 
with a stick, had not the soldier avoided them by a 
prompt flight. At last, he returned a third time to the 
charge, and protested to his captain that he could bear 
it no longer, and should be obliged to desert if his 
lodging was not changed. Despilliers, who knew the 
soldier to be brave and reasonable, said to him, with 
an oath, " I will go this night and sleep with you, and 
see what is the matter." 

At ten o'clock in the evening the captain repaired to 
his soldier's lodging, and having laid liis pistols ready 
primed upon the table, he laid down in his clothes, his 
sword by his side, with his soldier, in a bed without 
curtains. About midnight he heard something which 
came into the room, and in a moment turned the bed 
upside down, covering the captain and the soldier 
with the mattrass and paillasse. Despilliers had great 
trouble to diseno:ao:e himself and find again his sword 
and pistols, and he returned home much confounded. 
The horse-soldier had a new lodging the very next day, 
and slept quietly in the house of his new host. 

M. Despilliers related this adventure to any one who 
would listen to it. He was an intrepid man, who had 
never known what it was to fall back before danger. 
He died field-marshal of the armies of the Emperor 
Charles VI. and governor of the fortress of Segedin. 
His son has confirmed this adventure to me within a 
short time, as having heard it from his father. 

The person who writes to me adds: "I doubt not 
that spirits sometimes return ; but I have found myself 


in a great many places whicli it was said they haunted. 
I have even tried several times to see them, but I have 
never seen any. I found myself once with more than 
four thousand persons, who all said they saw the 
spirit ; I was the only one in the assembly who saw 
nothing." So writes me a very worthy officer, this 
year 1745, in the same letter wherein he relates the 
affair of M. Despilliers. 



Every body acknowledges that there is an infinity 
of riches buried in the earth, or lost under the waters 
by shipwrecks ; they fancy that the demon, whom they 
look upon as the god of riches, the god Mammon, the 
Pluto of the Pagans, is the depositary, or at least the 
guardian, of these treasures. He said to Jesus Christ,* 
when he tempted him in the wilderness, showing to him 
all the kingdoms of the earth, and their glory : " All 
these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and 
worship me." We know also, that the ancients very 
often interred vast treasures in the tombs of the dead ; 
either that the dead might make use of them in the 
other world, or that their souls might keep guard over 
them in those gloomy places. Job seems to make 
allusion to this ancient custom, when he says,^ " Would 
to God I had never been born: I should now sleep 
with the kings and great ones of the earth, who built 
themselves solitary places ; like unto those who seek 
for treasure, and are rejoiced when they find a tomb ;" 
doubtless because they hope to find great riches therein. 
» Matt. iv. 8. ^ Job iii. IS, 14, 22. 


There were very precious things in the tomb of 
Cyrus. Semiramis caused to be engraved on her own 
mausoleum, that it contained great riches. Josephus'^ 
relates, that Solomon placed great treasures in the 
tomb of David his father ; and that the High Priest 
Hyrcanus, being besieged in Jerusalem by King 
Antiochus, took thence three thousand talents. He 
says, moreover, that years after, Herod the Great 
having caused this tomb to be searched, took from it 
large sums. We see several laws against those who 
violate sepulchres to take out of them the precious 
things they contain. The Emperor Marcianus ^ forbade 
that riches should be hidden in tombs. If such things 
have been placed in the mausoleums of worthy and 
holy persons, and if they have been discovered through 
the revelation of the good spirits of persons who died 
in the faith and grace of God, we cannot conclude from 
those things, that all hidden treasures are in the power 
of the demon, and that he alone knows any thing of 
them ; the good angels know of them ; and the saints 
may be much more faithful guardians of them than the 
demons, who usually have no power to enrich, or to 
deliver from the horrors of poverty, from punishment 
and death itself, those who yield themselves to them 
in order to receive some reward from them. 

Melancthon relates,^ that the demon informed a 
priest where a treasure was hid; the priest, accom- 
panied by one of his friends, went to the spot indi- 
cated ; they saw there a black dog lying on a chest. 

•= Joseph. Ant. lib. xiii. ^ Martian, lib. iv. 

* Le Loyer, liv. ii. p. 495. 


The priest, having entered to take out the treasure, 
was crushed and smothered under the ruins of the 

M. K,emy/ in his Demonology, speaks of several 
persons whose causes he had heard in his quality of 
Lieutenant-General of Lorraine, at the time when that 
country swarmed with wizards and witches ; those 
amongst them who believed they had received money 
from the demon, found nothing in their purses but bits 
of broken pots, coals, or leaves of trees, or other things 
equally vile and contemptible. 

The Reverend Father Abram, a Jesuit, in his manu- 
script History of the University of Pont a Mousson, 
reports, that a youth of good family but small fortune, 
placed himself at first to serve in the army among 
the valets and serving men ; from thence his parents 
sent him to school, but not liking the subjection which 
study requires, he quitted the school and returned to 
his former kind of life. On his way he met a man 
dressed in a silk coat, but ill-looking, dark, and hideous, 
who asked him where he was going to, and why he 
looked so sad ; " I am able to set you at your ease," 
said this man to him, " if you will give yourself to me." 

The young man, believing that he wished to engage 
him as a servant, asked for time to reflect upon it; 
but beginning to mistrust the magnificent promises 
which he made him, he looked at him more narrowly, 
and having remarked that his left foot was divided like 
that of an ox, he was seized with affright, made the 

^ Kemy, Demonol. c. iv. Ann. 1605. 


slofn of the cross, and called on the name of Jesus, 
when the spectre directly disappeared. 

Three days after, the same figure appeared to him 
again, and asked him if he had made up his mind ; the 
young man replied that he did not want a master. The 
spectre said to him, " Where are you going ? " "I am 
going to such a town," replied he. At that moment 
the demon threw at his feet a purse which chinked, 
and which he found filled with thirty or forty Flemish 
crowns, amongst which were about twelve which ap- 
peared to be gold, newly coined, and as if from the 
stamps of the coiner. In the same purse was a powder, 
which the spectre said was of a very subtile quality. 

At the same time he gave him abominable counsels 
to satisfy the most shameful passions ; and exhorted 
him to renounce the use of holy water, and the adora- 
tion of the host— which he called in derision that little 
cake. The boy was horrified at these proposals, and 
made the sign of the cross on his heart ; and at the 
same time he felt himself thrown roughly down on the 
ground, where he remained for half-an-hour, half dead. 
Having got up again, he returned home to his mother, 
did penance, and changed his conduct. The pieces of 
money which looked like gold and newly coined, hav- 
ing been put in the fire, were found to be only of 

I relate this instance, to show that the demon seeks 
only to deceive and corrupt, even those to whom he 
makes the most specious promises, and to whom he 
seems to give great riches. 

Some years ago, two monks, both of them well- 


informed and prudent men, consulted me upon a cir- 
cumstance which occurred at Orbe, a village of Alsatia, 
near the Abbey of Pairis. Two men of that place told 
them, that they had seen come out of the ground a 
small box or casket, which they supposed was full of 
money, and having a wish to lay hold of it, it had 
retreated from them and hidden itself again under- 
ground. This happened to them more than once. 

Theophanes, a celebrated and grave Greek historio- 
grapher, under the year of our era, 408, relates that 
Cabades, King of Persia, being informed that between 
the Indian country and Persia there was a castle called 
Zubdadeyer, which contained a great quantity of gold, 
silver, and precious stones, resolved to make himself 
master of it ; but these treasures were guarded by 
demons, who would not permit any one to approach it. 
He employed some of the magi and some Jews who 
were with him, to conjure them and exorcise them ; 
but their efforts were useless. The kins; bethousfht 
himself of the God of the Christians — prayed to him, 
and sent for the bishop who was at the head of the 
Christian Church in Persia, and begged of him to use 
his efforts to obtain for him these treasures, and to 
expel the demons by whom they were guarded. The 
prelate offered the holy sacrifice, participated in it, 
and going to the spot, drove away the demons who 
were guardians of these riches, and put the king in 
peaceable possession of the castle. 

Relating this story to a man of some rank,s he told 
me, that in the Isle of Malta, two knights having hired 
K M. le Chevalier Guiot de Marre. 


a slave, who boasted tliat he possessed the secret of 
evoking demons, and forcing them to discover the most 
hidden secrets, they led him into an old castle, where it 
was thought that treasures were concealed. The slave 
performed his evocations, and at last the demon opened 
a rock whence issued a coffer. The slave would have 
taken hold of it, but the coffer went back into the rock. 
This occurred more than once ; and the slave, after 
vain efforts, came and told the knights what had hap- 
pened to him; but he was so much exhausted, that he 
had need of some restorative ; they gave him refresh- 
ment, and when he had returned, they after a while 
heard a noise. They went into the cave with a light, 
to see what had happened, and they found the slave 
lying dead, and all his flesh full of cuts as of a penknife, 
in form of a cross ; he was so covered with them, that 
there was not room to place a finger where he was not 
thus marked. The knights carried him to the shore, 
and threw him into the sea with a great stone hung 
round his neck. We could name these persons and 
note the dates, were it necessary. 

The same person related to us at that same time, 
that about ninety years before, an old woman of Malta 
was warned by a genius that there was a great deal of 
treasure in her cellar, belonging to a knight of high 
consideration, and desired her to give him information 
of it ; she went to his abode, but could not obtain an 
audience. The following night the same genius re- 
turned, and gave her the same command; and as she 
refused to obey, he abused her and again sent her on 
the same errand. The next day she returned to seek 

VOL. I. L 


this lord, and told the domestics that she would not go 
away until she had spoken to the master. She related 
what had happened to her ; and the knight resolved to 
go to her dwelling, accompanied by people with the 
proper instruments for digging ; they dug, and very 
shortly there sprung up such a quantity of water from 
the spot where they inserted their pickaxes, that they 
were obliged to give up the undertaking. 

The knight confessed to the Inquisitor what he had 
done, and received absolution for it ; but he was obliged 
to inscribe the fact we have recounted in the Kegisters 
of the Inquisition. 

About sixty years after, the canons of the Cathedral 
of Malta, wishing for a wider space before their church, 
bought some houses which it was necessary to pull 
down, and amongst others that which had belonged to 
that old woman. As they were digging there, they 
found the treasure, consisting of a good many gold 
pieces of the value of a ducat, bearing the effigy of the 
Emperor Justinian the First. The Grand Master of 
the Order of Malta affirmed that the treasure belonged 
to him as sovereign of the isle; the canons contested 
the point. The affair was carried to Kome ; the grand 
master gained his suit, and the gold was brought to 
him, amounting in value to about sixty thousand 
ducats ; but he gave them up to the cathedral. 

Some time afterwards, the knight of whom we have 
spoken, who was then very aged, remembered what 
had happened to himself, and asserted that the treasure 
ought to belong to him ; he made them lead him to the 
spot, recognised the cellar where he had formerly been. 

spmrrs that keep watch oyer treasure. 219 

and pointed out in the Register of the Inquisition 
what had been written therein sixty years before. 
They did not permit him to recover the treasure ; but 
it was a proof that the demon knew of and kept watch 
over this money. The person who told me this story 
has in his possession three or four of these gold pieces, 
having bought them of the canons. 

L 2 




"We read In a new work, that a man, Honore 
Mirable, having found in a garden near Marseilles 
a treasure consisting of several Portuguese pieces of 
gold, from the indication given him by a spectre, which 
appeared to him at eleven o'clock at night, near the 
Bastide, or country house called dii Paret, he made the 
discovery of it in presence of the woman who farmed the 
land oiihi^Bastide, and the farm-servant named Bernard. 
When he first perceived the treasure buried in the 
earth, and wrapt up in a bundle of old linen, he was 
afraid to touch it, for fear it should be poisoned and 
cause his death. He raised it by means of a hook 
made of a branch of the almond-tree, and carried it 
into his room, where he undid it without any witness, 
and found in it a great deal of gold; to satisfy the 
wishes of the spirit who had appeared to him, he caused 
some masses to be said for him. He revealed his good 
fortune to a countryman of his, named Anquier, who 
lent him forty livres, and gave him a note by which he 
acknowledged he owed him twenty thousand livres, 
and receipted the payment of the forty livres lent; 
this note bore date the 27th September, 1726. 


Some time after, Mirable asked Anquier to pay tlie 
note. Anquier denied every thing. A great lawsuit 
ensued; informations were taken and perquisitions 
held in Anquier's house ; sentence was given on the 
10th of September, 1727, importing that Anquier 
should be arrested, and have the question applied to 
him. An appeal was made to the Parliament of Aix. 
Anquier's note was declared a forgery. Bernard, who 
was said to have been present at the discovery of the 
treasure, was not cited at all ; the other witnesses only 
deposed from hearsay; Magdalen Caillot alone, who 
was present, acknowledged having seen the packet 
wrapped round with linen, and had heard a ringing as 
of pieces of gold or silver, and had seen one of them, 
a piece about as large as a piece of two liards. 

The Parliament of Aix issued its decree the 17th of 
February, 1728, by which it ordained that Bernard, 
farming servant at the Bastide du Paret, should be 
heard; he was heard on different days, and deposed 
that he had seen neither treasure, nor rags, nor gold 
pieces. Then came another decree of the 2d of 
June, 1728, which ordered that the Attorney General 
should proceed by way of ecclesiastical censures on the 
facts resulting from these proceedings. 

The indictment was published, fifty -three witnesses 
were heard; another sentence of the 18th of February, 
1729, discharged Anquier from the Courts and the 
lawsuit ; condemned Mirable to the galleys to perpe- 
tuity after having previously undergone the question ; 
and Caillot was to pay a fine of ten francs. Such was 
the end of this grand lawsuit. If we examine narrowly 


ttese stories of spectres who watch over treasures, we 
shall doubtless find, as here, a great deal of superstition, 
deception and fancy. 

Delrio relates some instances of people who have 
been put to death, or who have perished miserably as 
they searched for hidden treasures. In all this we may 
perceive the spirit of lying and seduction on the part of 
the demon, bounds set to his power, and his malice 
arrested by the will of God ; the impiety of man, his 
avarice, his idle curiosity, the confidence which he 
places in the angel of darkness, by the loss of his 
wealth, his life, and his soul. 

John Wierus, in his work entitled " De Prcestigiis 
Dcemonum,^ printed at Basle in 1577, relates that in his 
time, 1430, the demon revealed to a certain priest at 
IS^uremberg some treasures hidden in a cavern near the 
town, and enclosed in a crystal vase. The priest took 
one of his friends with him as a companion ; they began 
to dig up the ground in the spot designated, and they 
discovered in a subterranean cavern a kind of chest, 
near which a black dog was lying ; the priest eagerly 
advanced to seize the treasure, but hardly had he 
entered the cavern, than it fell in, crushed the priest, 
and was filled up with earth as before. 

The followino; is extracted from a letter, written 
from Kirchheim, January 1st, 1747, to M. Schopfflein, 
Professor of History and Eloquence at Strasburg. " It 
is now more than a year ago, that M. Cavallari, first 
musician of my Serene master, and by birth a Venetian, 
desired to have the ground dug up at Rothenklrchen, 
a league from hence, and which was formerly a re- 


nowned abbey, and was destroyed in the time of the 
Reformation. The opportunity was afforded him by 
an apparition, which, showed itself more than once at 
noon-day to the wife of the Censier of Rothenkirchen, 
and above all, on the 7th of May for two succeeding 
years. She swears, and can make oath, that she has 
seen a venerable priest in pontifical garments embroi- 
dered with gold, who threw before her a great heap of 
stones; and although she is a Lutheran, and conse- 
quently not very credulous in things of that kind, she 
thinks nevertheless that if she had had the presence of 
mind to put down a handkerchief or an apron, all the 
stones would have become money. 

" M. Cavallari then asked leave to dig there, which 
was the more readily granted, because the tithe or 
tenth part of the treasure is due to the sovereign. He 
was treated as a visionary, and the matter of treasure 
was regarded as an unheard-of thing. In the meantime 
he laughed at the anticipated ridicule, and asked me 
if I would go halves with him. I did not hesitate a 
moment to accept this offer ; but I was much surprised 
to find there were some little earthen pots full of gold 
pieces, all these pieces finer than the ducats of the 
fourteenth and fifteenth century generally are. I have 
had for my share 666, found at three different times. 
There are some of the Archbishops of Mayence, 
Treves, and Cologne, of the towns of Oppenheim, 
Baccarat, Bingen, and Coblentz ; there are some also of 
the Palatine Bupert, of Frederic, Burgrave of Nurem- 
berg, some few of Wenceslaus, and one of the Emperor 
Charles IV. &c." 


This shows that not only the demons, but also the 
saints, are sometimes guardians of treasure ; unless you 
will say that the devil had taken the shape of the pre- 
late. But what could it avail the demon to give the 
treasure to these gentlemen, who did not ask him for 
it, and scarcely troubled themselves about him? I have 
seen two of these pieces in the hands of M. Schop- 

The story we have just related is repeated, with 
a little difference, in a printed paper, announcing 
a lottery of pieces found at Rothenkirchen, in the 
province of Nassau, not far from Donnersberg. They 
say in this, that the value of these pieces is twelve 
livres ten sols, French money. The lottery was to be 
publicly drawn the first of February, 1750. Every 
ticket cost six livres of French money. I repeat these 
details only to prove the truth of the circumstance. 

We may add to the preceding, what is related by 
Bartholinus in his book on the cause of the contempt 
of death shown by the ancient Danes, (lib. ii. c. 2.) He 
relates that the riches concealed in the tombs of the 
great men of that country were guarded by the shades 
of those to whom they belonged, and that these shades 
or these demons spread terror in the souls of those who 
wished to take away those treasures, either by pouring 
forth a deluge of water, or by flames which they caused 
to appear around the monuments which enclosed those 
bodies and those treasures. 



Both in ancient and modern writers, we find an 
infinite number of stories of spectres. We have not 
the least doubt that their apparitions are the work of 
the demon, if they are real. Now, it cannot be denied 
that there is a great deal of illusion and falsehood in all 
that is related by them. We shall distinguish two 
sorts of spectres : those which appear to mankind to 
hurt or deceive them, or to announce things to come, 
fortunate or unfortunate as circumstances may occur ; 
the other spectres infest certain houses, of which they 
have made themselves masters, and where they are 
seen and heard. We shall treat of the latter in another 
chapter ; and show that the greater number of these 
spectres and apparitions may be suspected of falsehood. 

Pliny the younger, writing to his friend. Sura, on 
the subject of apparitions, testifies that he is much 
inclined to believe them true ; and the reason he gives, 
is what happened to Quintus Curtius Rufus, who, 
having gone into Africa in the train of the queestor or 
treasurer for the Romans, walking one day towards 
evening under a portico, saw a woman of uncommon 

L 3 


height and beauty, who told him that she was Africa, 
and assured him that he would one day return into 
that same country as proconsul. This promise inspired 
him with high hopes ; and by his intrigues, and help of 
friends, whom he had bribed, he obtained the quaestor - 
ship, and afterwards was praetor, through the favour of 
the Emperor Tiberius. 

This dignity having veiled the obscurity and base- 
ness of his birth, he was ' sent proconsul to Africa, 
where he died, after having obtained the honours of the 
triumph. It is said that, on his return to Africa, the 
same person who had predicted his future grandeur 
appeared to him again at the moment of his landing at 

These predictions, so precise, and so exactly followed 
up, made Pliny the younger believe that predictions 
of this kind are never made in vain. This story of 
Curtius Rufus was written by Tacitus, long enough 
before Pliny's time, and he might have taken it from 

After the fatal death of Caligula, who was massacred 
in his palace, he was buried half burnt in his own 
gardens. The princesses, his sisters, on their return 
from exile, had his remains burnt with ceremony, and 
honourably inhumed ; but it was averred that before 
this was done, those who had to watch over the 
gardens and the palace had every night been disturbed 
by phantoms and frightful noises. 

The following instance is so extraordinary, that I 
should not repeat it if the account were not attested 
by more than one writer, and also preserved in the 


public monuments of a considerable town of Upper 
Saxony ; this town is Hamelin in the principality of 
Kalenberg, at the confluence of the rivers Ham el and 

In the year 1384, this town was infested by such a 
prodigious multitude of rats, that they ravaged all the 
corn which was laid up in the granaries ; every thing 
was employed that art and experience could invent to 
chase them away, and whatever is usually employed 
against this kind of animals. At that time there came 
to the town an unknown person, of taller stature than 
ordinary, dressed in a robe of divers colours, who 
engaged to deliver them from that scourge, for a cer- 
tain recompense which was agreed upon. 

Then he drew from his sleeve a flute, at the sound 
of which all the rats came out of their holes and 
followed him ; he led them straight to the river, into 
which they ran and were drowned. On his return he 
asked for the promised reward, which was refused him, 
apparently on account of the facility with which he had 
exterminated the rats. The next day, which was a 
fete day, he chose the moment when the elder in- 
habitants of the burgh were at church, and by means 
of another flute which he began to play, all the boys in 
the town above the age of fourteen, to the number of a 
hundred and thirty, assembled round him : he led them 
to the neighbouring mountain, named Kopfelberg, 
under which is a sewer for the town, and where 
criminals are executed ; these boys disappeared and 
were never seen afterwards. 

A young girl, who had followed at a distance, was 


witness of the matter, and brought the news of It to 
the town. 

They still show a hollow in this mountain, where 
they say that he made the boys go in. At the corner 
of this opening is an inscription, which is so old that it 
cannot now be deciphered ; but the story is represented 
on the panes of the church windows ; and it is said, 
that in the public deeds of this town it is still the 
custom to put the dates in this manner : — Done in the 
year , after the disappearance of our children.^ 

If this recital is not wholly fabulous, as it seems to 
be, we can only regard this man as a spectre and an 
evil genius, who, by God's permission, punished the 
bad faith of the burghers in the persons of their 
children, although innocent of their parents' fault. It 
might be, that a man could have some natural secret to 
draw the rats together and precipitate them into the 
river; but only diabolical malice would cause so many 
innocent children to perish, out of revenge on their 

Julius Caesar ^ having entered Italy, and wishing to 
pass the Rubicon, perceived a man of more than ordinary 
stature, who began to whistle. Several soldiers having 
run to listen to him, this spectre seized the trumpet of 
one of them, and began to sound the alarm, and to pass 
the river. Caesar at that moment, without further 
deliberation, said. Let us go where the presages of the 

* See Vagenseil, Opera liborum Juvenil. torn. ii. p. 295, the Geo- 
graphy of Hubner, and the Geographical Dictionary of la Martinifere, 
under the name Hamelen. 

•> Sueton. in Jul. Cresar. 


gods and the injustice of our enemies call upon us to 

The Emperor Trajan '^ was extricated from the town 
of Antioch by a phantom, which made him go out at 
a window, in the midst of that terrible earthquake 
which overthrew almost all the town. The philosopher 
Simonides'^ was warned by a spectre that his house 
was about to fall ; he went out of it directly, and soon 
after it fell down. 

The Emperor Julian, the apostate, told his friends, 
that at the time when his troops were pressing him to 
accept the empire, being at Paris, he saw during the 
night a spectre in the form of a woman, as the genius 
of an empire is depicted, who presented herself to re- 
main with him ; but she gave him notice that it would 
be only for a short time. The same emperor related, 
moreover, that writing in his tent a little before his 
death, his familiar genius appeared to him, leaving the 
tent with a sad and afflicted air. Shortly before the 
death of the Emperor Constans, the same Julian had a 
vision in the night, of a luminous phantom, who pro- 
nounced and repeated to him, more than once, four 
Greek verses, importing that when Jupiter should be 
in the sign of the water-pot, or Aquarius, and Saturn 
in the 25th deo^ree of the Yiro;in, Constans would end 
his life in Asia in a shocking manner. 

The same Emperor Julian takes Jupiter ® to witness 
that he has often seen Esculapius, who cured him of his 

'^ Dio. Cassius. lib. Ixviii. 

^ Diogen. Laert. in Simon. Valer. Maxim, lib. xxiii. 

* Julian, apud Cyrill. Alex. 



Plutarch, whose gravity and wisdom are well 
known, often speaks of spectres and apparitions. He 
says, for instance, that at the famous battle of Marathon 
against the Persians, several soldiers saw the phantom of 
Theseus, who fought for the Greeks against the enemy. 

The same Plutarch, in the life of Sylla, says, that 
that general saw in his sleep the goddess whom the 
Komans worshipped according to the rites of the 
Cappadocians, (who were fire -worshippers,) whether 
it might be Bellona or Minerva, or the moon. This 
divinity presented herself before Sylla, and put into his 
hand a kind of thunder-bolt, telling him to launch 
it against his enemies, whom she named to him one 
after the other ; at the same time that he struck them, 
he saw them fall and expire at his feet. There is 
reason to believe that this same goddess was Minerva, 
to whom, as to Jupiter, Paganism attributes the right 
to hurl the thunder-bolt; or rather, that it was a 

Pausanias, general of the Lacedemonians, '^ having 
inadvertently killed Cleonice, a daughter of one of the 
» Plutarch in Cimone. 


first families of Byzantium, was tormented night and 
day by the ghost of that maiden, who left him no re- 
pose, repeating to him angrily a heroic verse, the sense 
of which was. Go before the tribunal of justice, which 
punishes crimes and awaits thee. Insolence is in the end 
fatal to mortals. 

Pausanias, always disturbed by this image, which 
followed him everywhere, retired to Heraclea in Elis, 
where there was a temple served by priests who were 
magicians, called Psychagogues, that is to say, who pro- 
fess to evoke the souls of the dead. There, Pausanias, 
after having offered the customary libations and funeral 
effusions, called upon the spirit of Cleonice, and con- 
jured her to renounce her anger against him. Cleonice 
at last appeared, and told him that very soon, when 
he should be arrived at Sparta, he would be freed from 
his woes, wishing apparently by these mysterious words 
to indicate that death which awaited him there. 

We see there the custom of evocations of the dead dis- 
tinctly pointed out, and solemnly practised in a temple 
consecrated to these ceremonies ; that demonstrates at 
least the belief and custom of the Greeks. And if 
Cleonice really appeared to Pausanias and announced 
his approaching death, can we deny that the evil spirit, 
or the spirit of Cleonice, is the author of this prediction, 
unless indeed it were a trick of the priests, which is 
likely enough, and as the ambiguous reply given to 
Pausanias seems to insinuate. 

Pausanias the historian ^ writes, that 400 years 
after the battle of Marathon, every night a noise was 
^ Pausanias, lib. i. c. 324. 


heard there of the neio-hino; of horses, and cries like those 
of soldiers exciting themselves to combat. Plutarch 
speaks also of spectres which were seen, and frightful 
howlings that were heard in some public baths, where 
they had put to death several citizens of Chaeronea, his 
native place ; they had even been obliged to shut up 
these bathsj which did not prevent those who lived near 
from continuing to hear great noises, and seeing from 
time to time spectres. 

Dion the philosopher, the disciple of Plato, and 
general of the Syracusans, being one day seated, to- 
wards the evening, very full of thought, in the portico 
of his house, heard a great noise, then perceived a 
terrible spectre of a woman of monstrous height, who 
resembled one of the furies, as they are depicted in 
tragedies ; there was still daylight, and she began to 
sweep the house. Dion, quite alarmed, sent to beg his 
friends to come and see him, and stay with him all 
night; but this woman appeared no more. A short 
time afterwards, his son threw himself down from the 
top of the house, and he himself was assassinated by 

Marcus Brutus, one of the murderers of Julius C^sar, 
being in his tent during a night which was not very 
dark, towards the third hour of the night, beheld a 
monstrous and terrific figure enter. ^' Who art thou ? 
a man or a god ? and why comest thou here ? " The 
spectre answered, " I am thine evil genius. Thou shalt 
see me at Phillppi ! " Brutus replied undauntedly, 
" I will meet thee there." And on going out, he went 
and related the circumstance to Cassius, who being of 


the sect of Epicurus, and a disbeliever In that kind of 
apparition, told him that it was mere imagination; 
that there were no genii or other kind of spirits which 
could appear unto men, and that even did they appear, 
they would have neither the human form nor the 
human voice, and could do nothing to harm us. 
Although Brutus was a little reassured by this rea- 
soning, still it did not remove all his uneasiness. 

But the same Cassius, in the campaign of Philippi, 
and in the midst of the combat, saw Julius Caesar, 
whom he had assassinated, who came up to him at full 
gallop ; which frightened him so much, that at last he 
threw himself upon his own sword. Cassius of Parma, 
a different person from him of whom we have spoken 
above, saw an evil genius, who came Into his tent, and 
declared to him his approaching death. 

Drusus, when making war on the Germans ( AUemanl) 
during the time of Augustus, desiring to cross the Elbe, 
in order to penetrate farther into the country, was 
prevented from so doing by a woman of taller stature 
than common, who appeared to him and said, " Drusus, 
whither wilt thou go? wilt thou never be satisfied? 
Thy end is near — go back from hence.'' He retraced 
his steps, and died before he reached the Khine, which 
he desired to recross. 

St. Gregory of Nicea, In the Life of St. Gregory 
Thaumaturgus, says, that during a great plague, which 
ravaged the city of Neocesarea, spectres were seen In 
open day, who entered houses, Into which they carried 
certain death. 

After the famous sedition which happened at Antloch, 


in the time of the emperor Theodosius, they beheld a 
kind of fury running about the town, with a whip, 
which she lashed about like a coachman who hastens 
on his horses. 

St. Martin, Bishop of Tours, being at Treves, entered 
a house, where he found a spectre which frightened him 
at first. Martin commanded him to leave the body 
which he possessed : instead of going out (of the place), 
he entered the body of another man who was in the 
same dwelling ; and throwing himself upon those who 
were there, began to attack and bite them. Martin 
threw himself across his way, put his fingers in his 
mouth, and defied him to bite him. The demoniac 
retreated, as if a bar of red-hot iron had been placed in 
his mouth, and at last the demon went out of the body 
of the possessed, not by the mouth but behind. 

John, Bishop of Atria, who lived in the sixth century, 
in speaking of the great plague which happened under 
the Emperor Justinian, and which is mentioned by 
almost all the historians of that time, says, that they 
saw boats of brass, containing black men without heads, 
which sailed upon the sea, and went towards the places 
where the plague was beginning its ravages ; that this 
infection having depopulated a town of Egypt, so that 
there remained only seven men and a boy ten years of 
age, these persons, wishing to get away from the town 
with a great deal of money, fell down dead suddenly. 

The boy fled without carrying any thing with him, 
but at the gate of the town he was stopped by a 
spectre, who dragged him, in spite of his resistance, 
into the house where the seven dead men were. Some 


time after, the steward of a rich man having entered 
therein, to take away some furniture belonging to his 
master, who had gone to reside in the country, was 
warned by the same boy to go away — but he died 
suddenly. The servants who had accompanied the 
steward ran away, and carried the news of all this to 
their master. 

The same Bishop John relates, that he was at Con- 
stantinople during a very great plague, which carried 
off ten, twelve, fifteen, and sixteen thousand persons 
a-day, so that they reckon that two hundred thousand 
persons died of this malady, — he says, that duriug this 
time demons were seen running from house to house, 
wearing the habits of ecclesiastics or monks, and who 
caused the death of those whom they met therein. 

The death of Carlostadt was accompanied by frightful 
circumstances, according to the ministers of Basle, his 
colleagues, who bore witness to it at the time. They '^ 
relate, that at the last sermon which Carlostadt preached 
in the temple of Basle, a tall black man came and seated 
himself near the consul. The preacher perceived him, 
and appeared disconcerted at it. When he left the 
pulpit, he asked who that stranger was who had taken 
his seat next to the chief magistrate ; no one had seen 
him but himself. When he went home, he heard more 
news of the spectre. The black man had been there, 
and had caught up by the hair the youngest and most 
tenderly loved of his children. After he had thus 
raised the child from the ground, he appeared disposed 
to throw him down so as to break his head ; but he 
<= Moshovius, p. 22. 


contented himself with ordering the boy to warn his 
father that In three days he should return, and he must 
hold himself In readiness. The child having repeated 
to his father what had been said to him, Carlostadt was 
terrified. He went to bed in alarm, and in three 
days he expired. These apparitions of the demons, by 
Luther's own avowal, were pretty frequent, in the case 
of the first reformers. 

These instances of the apparitions of spectres might 
be multiplied to infinity ; but if we undertook to 
criticise them, there is hardly one of them very certain, 
or proof against a serious and profound examination. 
Here follows one, which I relate on purpose because It 
has some singular features, and its falsehood has at last 
been acknowledged."^ 

^ See tlie following chapter. 



BusiNEss^ having led the Count d'Alais'' to Marseilles, 
a most extraordinary adventure happened to him 
there: he desired Neure to write to our philosopher 
(Gassendi), to know what he thought of it ; which he 
did in these words : — The Count and Countess being 
come to Marseilles, saw, as they were lying in bed, a 
luminous spectre; they were both wide awake. In 
order to be sure that it was not some illusion, they 
called their valets de chambre ; but no sooner had these 
appeared with their flambeaux, than the spectre disap- 
peared. They had all the openings and cracks which 
they found in the chamber stopped up, and then went 
to bed again ; but hardly had the valets de chambre 
retired, than it appeared again. 

Its Hght was less shining than that of the sun ; but it 
was brighter than that of the moon. Sometimes this 
spectre was of an angular form, sometimes a circle, and 
sometimes an oval. It was easy to read a letter by the 

^ Vie de Gassendi, torn. i. p. 258. 

^ Alais is a town in Lower Laiiguedoc,the lords of whicTi bear the 
title of prince, since this town has passed into the House of Angouleme 
and De Conty. 


light it gave'; it often changed its place, and sometimes 
appeared on the count's bed. It had, as it were, a 
kind of little bucklers, above which were characters 
imprinted. Nevertheless, nothing could be more 
agreeable to the sight ; so that instead of alarming, it 
gave pleasure. It appeared every night whilst the 
count stayed at Marseilles. This prince, having once 
cast his hands upon it, to see if it was not something 
attached to the bed curtain, the spectre disappeared 
that night, and reappeared the next. 

Gassendi being consulted upon this circumstance, 
replied on the 13th of the same month. He says, in 
the first place, that he knows not what to think of this 
vision. He does not deny that this spectre might be 
sent from God, to tell them something. What renders 
this idea probable, is the great piety of them both, and 
that this spectre had nothing frightful in it, but quite 
the contrary. What deserves our attention still more 
is this, that if God had sent it, he would have made 
known why he sent it. God does not jest ; and since 
it cannot be understood what is to be hoped or feared, 
followed up or avoided, it is clear that tliis spectre 
cannot come from him ; otherwise his conduct would be 
less praiseworthy than that of a father, or a prince, or a 
worthy, or even a prudent man, who being informed of 
somewhat which greatly concerned those in subjection 
to them, would not content themselves with warning 
them enigmatically. 

If this spectre is any thing natural, nothing is more 
difficult than to discover it, or even to find any con- 
jecture which may explain it. Although I am well 


persuaded of my ignorance, I will venture to give my 
idea. Might it not be advanced, that this light has 
appeared because the eye of the count was internally 
affected, or because it was so externally ? The eye may 
be so internally in two ways. First : if the eye was 
affected in the same manner as that of the Emperor 
Tiberius always was when he awoke in the night and 
opened his eyes; a light proceeded from them, by means 
of which he could discern objects in the dark by 
looking fixedly at them. I have known the same thing 
happen to a lady of rank. Secondly : if his eyes were 
disposed in a certain manner, as it happens to myself 
when I awake : if I open my eyes, they perceive rays 
of light though there has been none. No one can 
deny, that some flash may dart from our eyes, which 
represents objects to us — which objects are reflected in 
our eyes, and leave their traces there. It is known 
that animals which prowl by night have a piercing 
sight, to enable them to discern their prey and carry 
it off; that the animal spirit which is in the eye, and 
which may be shed from it, is of the nature of fire, 
and consequently lucid. It may happen that, the eyes 
being closed during sleep, this spirit heated by the 
eyelids becomes inflamed, and sets some faculty in 
motion, as the imagination. For, does it not happen 
that wood of different kinds, and fish bones, produce 
some light when their heat is excited by putrefaction ; 
why then may not the heat excited in this confined 
spirit produce some light ? He proves afterwards that 
imagination alone may do it. 

The Count d'Alais having returned to Marseilles, 


and being lodged in the same apartment, the same 
spectre appeared to him again. Neure wrote to 
Gassendij that they had observed that this spectre 
penetrated into the chamber by the wainscot; which 
obliged Gassendi to write to the count to examine 
the thing more attentively ; and notwithstanding this 
discovery, he dare not yet decide upon it. He con- 
tents himself with encouraging the count, and telling 
him, that if this apparition is from God, he will not 
allow him to remain long in expectation, and will soon 
make known his will to him ; and also, if this vision 
does not come from him, he will not permit it to 
continue, and will soon discover that it proceeds from 
a natural cause. Nothing more is said of this spectre 
any where. 

Three years afterwards, the Countess d'Alais avowed 
ingenuously to the count that she herself had caused 
this farce to be played by one of her women, because 
she did not like to reside at Marseilles ; that her 
woman was under the bed, and that she from time to 
time caused a phosphoric light to appear. The Count 
d'Alais related this himself to M. Puger of Lyons, who 
told it, about thirty-five years ago, to-M. Falconet, a 
medical doctor of the Royal Academy of Belle-Lettres, 
from whom I learnt it. Gassendi, when consulted 
seriously by the count, answered like a man who had 
no doubt of the truth of this apparition ; so true it is, 
that the greater number of these extraordinary facts 
require to be very carefully examined, before any 
opinion can be passed upon them. 



There are several kinds of spectres or ghosts, which 
haunt certain houses, make noises, appear there, and 
disturb those who hve in them : some are sprites, or 
elves, which divert themselves by troubling the quiet 
of those who dwell there ; others are spectres or ghosts 
of the dead, who molest the living until they have re- 
ceived sepulture : some of them, as it is said, make the 
place their purgatory ; others show themselves or make 
themselves heard, because they have been put to death 
in that place, and ask that their death may be avenged, 
or that their bodies may be buried. So many stories 
are related concerning those things, that now they are 
not cared for, and nobody will believe any of them. 
In fact, when these pretended apparitions are thoroughly 
examined into, it is easy to discover their falsehood and 

Now, it is a tenant who wishes to decry the house in 
which he resides, to hinder others from coming who 
would like to take his place ; then a band of coiners 
have taken possession of a dwelling, whose interest it is 
to keep their secret from being found out ; or a farmer 
who desires to retain his farm, and wishes to prevent 
others from coming to offer more for it ; in this place 

VOL. I. M 


it will be cats or owls, or even rats, which by making 
a noise frighten the master and domestics, as it hap- 
pened some years ago at Mosheim, where large rats 
amused themselves in the night by moving and setting 
in motion the machines with which the women bruise 
hemp and flax. An honest man who related it to me, 
desiring to behold the thing neaiTr, mounted up to the 
garret armed with two pistols, with his servant armed 
in the same manner. After a moment of silence, they 
saw the rats begin their game ; they let fire upon them, 
killed two, and dispersed the rest. The circumstance 
was reported in the country and served as an excellent 

I am about to relate some of these spectral appa- 
ritions upon which the reader will pronounce judgment 
for himself. Pliny ^ the younger says that there was 
a very handsome mansion at Athens, which was forsaken 
on account of a spectre which haunted it. The philo- 
sopher Athenodorus, having arrived in the city, and 
seeing a board which informed the public that this 
house was to be sold at a very low price, bought it and 
went to sleep there with his people. As he was busy 
reading and Avriting during the night, he heai'd on a 
sudden a great noise, as if of chains being dragged 
along, and perceived at the same time something like 
a friohtful old man loaded with iron chains, who drew 
near to him. Athenodorus continuing to write, the 
spectre made him a sign to follow him ; the philosopher 
in his turn made signs to him to wait, and continued to 
write ; at last he took his light and followed the spectre, 
" Plin. junior, Epist. ad Suram. lib. vii. cap. 27. 


who conducted him into the court of the house, then 
sank into the ground and disappeared. 

Athenodorus, without being frightened, tore up some 
of the grass to mark the spot, and on leaving it, went 
to rest in his room. The next day he informed the 
magistrates of what had happened ; they came to the 
house and searched the spot he designated, and there 
found the bones of a human body loaded with chains. 
They caused him to be properly buried, and the dweliing-w 
house remained quiet. 

Lucian^ relates a very, similar story. There vras, 
says he, a house at Corinth, which had belonged to one 
Eubatides, in the quarter named Cranaiis ; a man named 
Arignotes undertook to pass the night there, without 
troubling himself about a spectre which was said to 
haunt it. He furnished himself with certain magic 
books of the Egyptians to conjure the spectre. Having 
gone into the house at night with a light, he began to 
read quietly in the court. The spectre appeared in 
a little while, taking sometimes the shape of a dog, 
then that of a bull, and then that of a lion. Arignotes 
very composedly began to pronounce certain magical 
invocations, which he read in his books, and by their 
power forced the spectre into a corner of the court, 
where he sank into the earth and disappeared. 

The next day Arignotes sent for Eubatides, the 
master of the house, and having had the ground dug 
up where the phantom had disappeared, they found 
a skeleton, which they had properly interred, and from 
that time nothing more was seen or heard. 
*» In Philo-pseud. p. 8i0. 
M 2 


It is Luclan, that is to say the man in the world the 
least credulous concerning things of this kind, who 
makes Arignotes relate this event. In the same passage 
he says that Democritus, who believed in neither angels, 
nor demons, nor spirits, having shut himself up in 
a tomb without the city of Athens, where he was 
writing and studying, a party of young men, who 
wanted to frighten him, covered themselves with black 
garments, as the dead are represented, and having 
taken hideous disguises, came in the night, shrieking 
and jumping around the place where he was ; he let 
them do what they liked, and without at all disturbing 
himself, coolly told them to have done with their 

I know not if the historian who wrote the life of 
St. Germain i'Auxerrois ^ had in his eye the stories we 
have just related, and if he did not wish to ornament 
the life of the saint by a recital very much like them. 
The saint travelling one day through his diocese, was 
obliged to pass the night with his clerks in a house 
forsaken long before on account of the spirits which 
haunted it. The clerk, who read to him during the 
night, saw on a sudden a spectre which alarmed him 
at first ; but having awakened the holy bishop, the 
latter commanded the spectre in the name of Jesus 
Christ to declare to him who he was, and what he 
wanted. The phantom told him that he and his com- 
panion had been guilty of several crimes ; that having 
died and been interred in that house, they disturbed 
those who lodged there until the burial rites should 
* Bolland, 31 Jul. p. 211. 


liave been accorded them. St. Germain commanded 
him to point out where their bodies were buried, and 
the spectre led him thither. The next day he assem- 
bled the people in the neighbourhood; they sought 
amongst the ruins of the building^ where the brambles 
had been disturbed, and they found the bones of two 
men thrown in a heap together, and also loaded with 
chains ; they were buried, prayers were said for them, 
and they returned no more. 

If these men were wretches dead in crime and impe- 
nitence, all this can be attributed only to the artifice 
of the devil, to show the living that the reprobate take 
pains to procure rest for their bodies by getting them 
interred, and to their souls by getting them prayed for. 
But if these two men were Christians who had expiated 
their crimes by repentance, and who died in communion 
with the Church, God might permit them to appear, 
to ask for clerical sepulture, and those prayers which 
the Church is accustomed to say for the repose of 
defunct persons, who die while yet some slight fault 
remains to be expiated. 

Here is a fact of the same kind as those which pre- 
cede, but which is attended by circumstances which 
may render it more credible. It is related by Antonio 
Torquemada, in his work entitled Flores Curiosas, 
printed at Salamanca in 1570. He says that a little 
before his own time, a young man named Vasquez 
de Ayola, being gone to Bologna with two of his 
companions to study the law there, and not having 
found such a lodging in the town as they wished 
to have, lodged themselves in a large and handsome 


house, which was abandoned by everybody, because it 
was haunted by a spectre which frightened away all 
those who wished to live in it; they laughed at such 
discourse, and took up their abode there. 

At the end of a month, as Ayola was sitting up 
alone in his chamber, and his companions sleeping 
quietly in their beds, he heard at a distance a noise as 
of several chains dragged along upon the ground, and 
the noise advanced towards him by the great staircase ; 
he recommended himself to God, made the sign of the 
cross, took a shield and sword, and having his taper in 
his hand, he saw the door openetl by a terrific spectre 
that was nothing but bones, but loaded with chains. 
Ayola conjured him, and asked him what he wished 
for : the phantom signed to him to follow, and he did 
so ; but as he went down the stairs, his light blew out ; 
he went back to light it, and then followed the spirit, 
which led him along a court where there was a well. 
Ayola feared that he might throw him into it, and 
stopped short. The spectre beckoned to him to con- 
tinue to follow him ; they entered the garden, where 
the phantom disappeared. Ayola tore up some hand- 
fals of grass upon the spot, and returning to the house, 
related to his companions what had happened. In the 
morning: he 2;ave notice of this circumstance to the 
Principals of Bologna. 

They came to reconnoitre the spot, and had it dug 
up ; they found there a fleshlcss body, but loaded with 
chains. They inquired who it could be, but nothing 
certain could be discovered, and the bones were interred 
with suitable obsequies, and from that time the house 


was never disquieted by such visits. Torquemada 
asserts that in his time there were still living at Bologna 
and in Spain some who had been witnesses of the fact ; 
and that on his return to his own country, Ayola was 
invested with a high office, and that his son, before 
this narration was written, was President in a good 
city of the kingdom (of Spain). 

Plautus, still more ancient than either Lucian or 
Pliny, composed a comedy entitled " Mostellaria," or 
" Monstellaria," a name derived from '^Monstrum," or 
" Monstellum," from a monster, a spectre, which Avas 
said to appear in a certain house, and which on that 
account had been deserted. We agree that the founda- 
tion of this comedy is only a fable, but we may deduce 
from it the antiquity of this idea among the Greeks 
and Romans. 

The poet*^ makes this pretended spirit say, that 
having been assassinated about sixty years before by 
a perfidious comrade who had taken his money, he had 
been secretly interred in that house ; that the god of 
Hades would not receive him on the other side of 
Acheron, as he had died prematurely ; for which reason 
he was obliged to remain in that house of which he had 
taken possession. 

" Haec mihi dedita habitatio ; 
l^am me Acherontem recipere noluit, 
Quia prsematur)^ vit&, careo." 

The Pagans, who had the simplicity to believe that 
the Lamiae and evil spirits disquieted those who dwelt 
in certain houses and certain rooms, and who slept in 
^ Plaut. Mostell. act. ii. v, 67. 


certain beds, conjured them by magic verses, and pre- 
tended to drive them away by fumigations composed 
of sulphur and other stinking drugs, and certain herbs 
mixed with sea water. Ovid, speaking of Medea, that 
celebrated magician, says/ — 

*' Terque senem fiaminS,, ter aqu&,, ter sulphure lustrat." 

And elsewhere he adds eo:o:s : — 

" Adveniat quas lustret anus lectumque locumque, 
Deferat et tremul^ sulphur et ova manu." 

In addition to this they adduce the instance of the 
Archangel Raphael,^ who drove away the devil Asmo- 
deus from the chamber of Sarah, by the smell of the 
liver of a fish which he burnt upon the fire. But the 
instance of Raphael ought not to be placed along with 
the superstitious ceremonies of magicians, which were 
laughed at by the Pagans themselves ; if they had any 
power, it could only be by the operation of the demon 
with the permission of God ; whilst what is told of the 
archangel Raphael is certainly the work of a good spirit, 
sent by God to cure Sarah the daughter of Raguel, 
who was as much distinguished by her piety as the 
magicians are degraded by their malice and super- 

* Vide Joan. Vier. de Curat. Malific. c. 215. ^ Tob. viii. 



Father Pierre Thyree,^ a Jesuit, relates an infi- 
nite number of anecdotes of houses haunted by ghosts, 
spirits, and demons; for instance, that of a tribune 
named Hesperius, whose house was infested by a demon 
who tormented the domestics and animals, and who 
was driven away, says St. Augustin,^ by a good priest 
of Hippo, who offered therein the divine sacrifice of 
the body of our Lord. 

St. Germain,^ bishop of Capua, taking a bath in one 
particular quarter of the town, found there Paschasius, 
a deacon of the Poman Church, who had been dead 
some time, and who began to wait upon him, telling 
him that he underwent his purgatory in that place for 
having favoured the party of Laurentius the anti-pope, 
against Pope Symachus. 

St. Gregory of Nicea, in the life of St. Gregory of 
NeocaBsarea, says that a deacon of this holy bishop, 
bavins: ffone into a bath where no one dared go after 
a certain hour in the evening, because all those who 
had entered there had been put to death, beheld spectres 

^ Thyrsei Demoniaci cum locis infestis. 
^ S. Aug. de Civ. lib. xxii. 8. 
* S. Greg. Mag. Dial. cap. 39. 

M 3 


of all kinds, which threatened him in a thousand ways, 
but he got rid of them by crossing himself and invoking 
the name of Jesus. 

Alexander ab Alexandro/ a learned Neapolitan 
lawyer of the fifteenth century, says that all the world 
knows that there are a number of houses at Rome so 
much out of repute on account of the ghosts which 
appear in them every night, that nobody dares to 
inhabit them. Nicholas Tuba, his friend, a man well 
known for his probity and veracity, who came once 
with some of his comrades to try if all that was said of 
those houses was true, would pass the night in one of 
them with Alexander. As they were together, wide 
awake, and with plenty of light, they beheld a horrible 
spectre, wliich frightened them so much by its terrific 
voice and the great noise which it made, that they hardly 
knew what they did, nor what they said ; " and by 
degrees, as we approached," says he, "with the light, 
the phantom retreated ; at last, after having thrown all 
the house into confusion, it disappeared entirely." 

I might also relate here the spectre noticed by 
Father Sinson the Jesuit, which he saw, and to which 
he spoke at Pont-a-Mousson, in the cloister belong- 
ing to those fathers ; but I shall content myself with 
the instance which is reported in the Causes CtUhres,^ 
and which may serve to undeceive those who too lightly 
ofive credit to stories of this kind. 

At the Chateau d'Arsillier in Picardy, on certain 
days of the year, towards November, they saw flames 

•* Alexander ab Alexandre, lib. v. cap. 23. 
^ Causes Celfebres, torn. xi. p. 374. 


and a horrible smoke proceeding thence. Cries and 
frightful howlings were heard. The bailiff, or farmer 
of the chateau, had got accustomed to this uproar, 
because he himself caused it. All the village talked 
of it, and everybody told his own story thereupon. 
The gentleman to whom the chateau belonged, mis- 
trustinoj some contrivance, came there near All-saints' 
day with two gentlemen his friends, resolved to pursue 
the spirit, and fire upon it with a brace of good pistols. 
A few days after they arrived, they heard a great noise 
above the room where the owner of the chateau slept ; 
his two friends went up thither, holding a pistol in one 
hand and a candle in the other ; and a sort of black 
phantom with horns and a tail presented itself, and 
besfan to gambol about before them. 

One of them fired off his pistol ; the spectre, instead 
of falling, turns, and skips before him : the gentleman 
tries to seize it, but the spirit escapes by the back stair- 
case ; the gentleman follows it, but loses sight of it, and 
after several turnings, the spectre throws itself into 
a granary, and disappears at the moment its pursuer 
reckoned on seizing and stopping it. A light w^as 
brought, and it was remarked that where the spectre 
had disappeared, there was a trap-door which had been 
bolted after it entered ; they forced open the trap, and 
found the pretended spirit. He owned all his artifices, 
and that what had rendered him proof against the pistol 
shot, was buffalo's hide tightly fitted to his body. 

Cardinal de Retz^ in his Memoirs relates very 
agreeably the alarm which seized himself and those 
' M6m. de Cardinal de Eetz, torn. i. pp. 43, 44. 


witli him, on meeting a company of black Augustine 

friars, wlio came to bathe in the river by night, and 

whom they took for a troop of quite another description. 

A physician, in a dissertation which he has given on 

spirits or ghosts, says that a maid servant in the Rue 

St. Victor, who had gone down into the cellar, came 

back very much frightened, saying she had seen 

a spectre standing upright between two barrels. Some 

persons who were bolder went down, and saw the same 

thing. It was a dead body, which had fallen from 

a cart coming from the Hotel-Dieu. It had slid down 

by the cellar window (or grating), and had remained 

standing between two casks. All these collective facts, 

instead of confirming one another, and establishing the 

reality of those ghosts which appear in certain houses, 

and keep away those who would willingly dwell in 

them, are only calculated, on the contrary, to render 

such stories in general very doubtful ; for on what 

account should those people who have been buried and 

turned to dust for a long time find themselves able to 

walk about with their chains? How do they drag them? 

How do they speak ? "What do they want ? Is it 

sepulture? Are they not interred? If they are heathens 

and reprobates, they have nothing to do with prayers. 

If they are good people, who died in a state of grace, 

they may require prayers to take them out of purgatory; 

but can that be said of the spectres spoken of by Pliny 

and Luclan? Is it the devil, who sports with the 

simplicity of men? Is it not ascribing to him most 

excessive power, by making him the author of all these 

apparitions, which we conceive he cannot cause with- 


out the permission of God? And we can still less 
imao-ine that God will concur in the deceptions and 
illusions of the demon. There is then reason to be- 
lieve that all the apparitions of this kind, and all these 
stories, are false, and must be absolutely rejected, as 
more fit to keep up the superstition and idle credulity 
of the people than to edify and instruct them. 



As soon as we admit it as a principle that angels and 
demons are purely spiritual substances, we must con- 
sider, not only as chimerical, but also as impossible, all 
personal intercourse between a demon and a man, or 
a woman, and consequently regard as the eifect of a 
depraved or deranged imagination all that is related of 
demons, whether incubi or succubi, and of the epMaltes 
of which such strange tales are told. 

The author of the Book of Enoch, which is cited by 
the fathers, and regarded as canonical Scripture by 
some ancient writers, has taken occasion from these 
words of Moses, ^ — *' The children of God, seeing the 
daughters of men, who were of extraordinary beauty, 
took them for wives, and begat the giants of them," — 
of settino; forth that the angels, smitten with love for 
the daughters of men, wedded them, and had by them 
children, which are those giants so famous in antiquity.^ 
Some of the ancient fathers have thought that this 

" Gen. vi. 1, 2, 

•» Athenagorus and Clem. Alex. lib. iii. & v. Strom. & lib. iL Pedagog. 


irregular love of the angels was the cause of their fall, 
and that till then they had remained in the just and due 
subordination which they owed to their Creator. 

It appears from Josephus, that the Jews of his day 
seriously believed^ that the angels were subject to these 
weaknesses like men. St. Justin Martyr'^ thought that 
the demons were the fruit of this commerce of the 
angels with the daughters of men. 

But these ideas are now almost entirely given up, 
especially since the belief in the spirituality of angels 
and demons has been adopted. Commentators and the 
fathers have generally explained the passage in Genesis 
which we have quoted as relating to the children of 
Seth, to whom the Scripture gives the name of children 
of God, to distinguish them from the sons of Cain, who 
were the fathers of those here called the daughters of 
men. The race of Seth having then formed alliances 
with the race of Cain, by means of those marriages 
before alluded to, there proceeded from these unions 
powerful, violent, and impious men, who drew down 
upon the earth the terrible effects of God's wrath, 
which burst forth at the universal deluge. 

Thus, then, these marriages between the children of 
God and the daughters of men have no relation to the 
question we are here treating; what we have to ex- 
amine is — if the demon can have personal commerce 
with man or woman, and if what is said on that subject 
can be connected with the apparitions of evil spirits 
amongst mankind, which is the principal object of this 

' Joseph. Antiq. lib, i. c. 4. ^ Justin. Apolog. utroque. 


I win give some instances of those persons who have 
believed that thej held such intercourse with the 
demon. Torcjuemada relates, in a detailed manner, 
what happened in his time, and to his knowledge, in 
the town of Cagliari, in Sardinia, to a young lady, who 
suiFered herself to be corrupted by the demon ; and 
having been arrested by the Inquisition, she suffered 
the penalty of the flames, in the mad hope that her 
pretended lover would come and deliver her. 

In the same place he speaks of a young girl who was 
sought in marriage by a gentleman of good family; 
when the devil assumed the form of this young man, 
associated with the young lady for several months, 
made her promises of marriage, and took advantage of 
her. She was only undeceived w^hen the young lord 
who sought her in marriage informed her that he was 
absent from town, and more than fifty leagues off, the 
day that the promise in question had been given, and 
that he never had the slightest knowledge of it. The 
young girl, thus disabused, retired into a convent, and 
did penance for her double crime. 

We read in the life of St. Bernard, Abbot of Clair- 
vaux,^ that a woman of Nantes, in Brittany, saw, or 
thought she saw the demon every night, even w^hen 
lying by her husband. She remained six years in this 
state ; at the end of that period, having her disorderly 
life in horror, she confessed herself to a priest, and 
by his advice began to perform several acts of piety, 
as much to obtain pardon for her crime, as to deliver 
herself from her abominable lover. But when the 
« Vita St. Bernard, torn. i. lib. 20. 


husband of this woman was informed of the circum- 
stance, he left her, and would never see her again. 

This unhappy woman was informed by the devil 
himself, that St. Bernard would soon come to Nantes, 
but she must mind not to speak to him, for this abbot 
could by no means assist her ; and If she did speak to 
him, it would be a great misfortune to her ; and that 
from being her lover, he who warned her of it would 
become her most ardent persecutor. 

The saint reassured this woman, and desired her to 
make the sign of the cross on herself on going to bed, 
and to place next her in the bed the staff which he gave 
her. " If the demon comes," said he, " let him do what 
he can." The demon came; but, without daring to 
approach the bed, he threatened the woman greatly, 
and told her that after the departure of St. Bernard he 
would come again to torment her. 

On the following Sunday, St. Bernard repaired to 
the Cathedral Church, with the Bishop of Nantes and 
the Bishop of Chartres, and having caused lighted 
tapers to be given to all the people, who had assembled 
in a great crowd, the saint, after having publicly re- 
lated the abominable action of the demon, exorcised and 
anathematised the evil spirit, and forbade him, by the 
authority of Jesus Christ, ever again to approach that 
woman, or any other. Every body extinguished their 
tapers, and the power of the demon was annihilated. 

This example and the two preceding ones, related in 
so circumstantial a manner, might make us believe that 
there is some reality in what is said of demons incubi 
and succubl; but if we deeply examine the facts, we 


shall find that an imagination strongly possessed, and 
violent prejudice, may produce all that we have just 

St. Bernard begins by curing the woman's mind, by 
giving her a stick, which she was to place by her side 
in the bed. This staff sufficed for the first impression ; 
but to dispose her for a complete cure, he exorcises the 
demon, and then anathematises him, with all the eclat 
he possibly could : the bishops are assembled in the 
cathedral, the people repair thither in crowds ; the cir- 
cumstance is recounted in pompous terms; the evil 
spirit is threatened; the tapers are extinguished — all 
of them striking ceremonies : the woman is moved by 
them, and her imagination is restored to a healthy tone. 

Jerome Cardan^ relates two singular examples of the 
power of imagination in this way ; he had them from 
Francis Pico de Mirandola. " I know," says the latter, 
" a priest, seventy-five years of age, who lived w^ith a 
pretended woman, whom he called Hermeline, with 
whom he slept, conversed, and conducted in the streets 
as if she had been his wife. He alone saw her, or 
thought he saw her, so that he was looked upon as a 
man who had lost his senses. This priest was named 
Benedict Beina. He had been arrested by the Inquisi- 
tion, and punished for his crimes ; for he owned that in 
the sacrifice of the mass he did not pronounce the 
sacramental words, that he had given the consecrated 
wafer to women to make use of in sorcery, and that he 
had sucked the blood of children. He avowed all this 
while undergoing the question. 

* Cardan, de Variet. lib. xv. c. Ixxx. p. 290. 


Another, named Pineto, held converse with a demon, 
whom he kept as his wife, and with whom he had inter- 
course for more than forty years. This man was still 
livinof in the time of Pico de Mirandola. 

Devotion and spirituality, when too contracted and 
carried to excess, have also their derangements of hna- 
gination. Persons so affected often believe they see, hear, 
and feel, what passes only in their brain, and which 
takes all its reality from their prejudices and self-love. 
This is less mistrusted, because the object of it is holy 
and pious ; but error and excess, even in matters of 
devotion, are subject to very great inconveniences, and 
it is very important to undeceive all those who give 
way to this kind of mental derangement. 

For instance, we have seen persons eminent for their 
devotion, who believed they saw the Holy Virgin, St. 
Joseph, the Saviour, and their guardian angel, who 
spoke to them, conversed with them, touched the 
wounds of the Lord, and tasted the blood which flowed 
from his side and his wounds. Others thought they 
were in company with the Holy Virgin and the Infant 
Jesus, who spoke to them and conversed with them ; 
in idea, however, and without reality. 

In order to cure the two ecclesiastics of whom we 
have spoken, gentler and perhaps more efficacious 
means mio-ht have been made use of than those em- 
ployed by the tribunal of the Inquisition. Every day 
hypochondriacs, or maniacs, with fevered imaginations, 
diseased brains, or with the viscera too much heated, 
are cured by simple and natural remedies, either by 
cooling the blood, and creating a diversion in the 


humours thereof, or by striking the imagiuation through 
some new device, or by giving so much exercise of 
body and mind to those who are afflicted with such 
maladies of the brain, that they may have something 
else to do or to think of, than to nourish such fancies, 
and strengthen them by reflections daily recurring, and 
having always the same end and object. 



The dogma of the immortality of the soul, and of its 
existence after its separation from the body which it 
once animated, being taken for indubitable, and Jesus 
Christ having invincibly established it against the 
Sadducees, the return of souls and their apparition to 
the living, by the command or permission of God, can 
no longer appear so incredible, nor even so difficult. 

It was a known and received truth among the Jews 
in the time of our Saviour ; he assumed it as certain, 
and never pronounced a word which could give any 
one reason to think that he disapproved of, or con- 
demned it ; he only warned us that in common appari- 
tions, spirits have neither flesh nor bones, as he had 
himself after his resurrection. If St. Thomas doubted 
of the reality of the resurrection of his master, and the 
truth of his appearance, it was because he was aware 
that those who suppose they see apparitions of spirits 
are subject to illusion; and that one strongly pre- 
possessed, will often believe he beholds what he does 
not see, and hear that which he hears not ; and even 
had Jesus Christ appeared to his Apostles, that would 


not prove that he was resuscitated, since a spirit can 
appear, while its body is in the tomb and even cor- 
rupted or reduced to dust and ashes. 

The Apostles doubted not of the possibility of the 
apparition of spirits : when they saw the Saviour coming 
towards them, walking upon the waves of the Lake 
of Gennesareth,^ they at first believed that it was a 

After St. Peter had left the prison by the aid of an 
angel, and came and knocked at the door of the house 
where the brethren were assembled, the servant whom 
they sent to open it, hearing Peter's voice, thought it 
was his spirit, or an angel '' who had assumed his form 
and voice. The wicked rich man, being in the flames 
of hell, begged of Abraham to send Lazarus to earth, 
to warn his brothers ^ not to expose themselves to the 
danger of falling like him in the extreme of misery : 
he believed, without doubt, that souls could return to 
earth, make themselves visible, and speak to the living. 

In the transfiguration of Jesus Christ, Moses, who 
had been dead for ages, appeared on j\Iount Tabor 
with Elias, conversing with Jesus Christ then trans- 
fioured.*^ After the resurrection of the Saviour, several 
persons, who had long been dead, arose from their 
graves, went into Jerusalem and appeared unto many.^ 

In the Old Testament, King Saul addresses himself 
to the witch of Endor, to beg of her to evoke for him 
the soul of Samuel f that prophet appeared and spoke 

^ Matt. xi. 16. Mark vi. 43. ^ Acts xii. 13, 14. 

<= Luke xxi. 14, 15. ^ Luke ix. 32. 

^ Matt, xxvii. 34. ^ 1 Sam. xxviii. 7, ad finem. 


to Saul. I know that considerable difficulties and 
objections have been formed, as to this evocation and 
this aj^parition of Samuel. But, whether he appeared 
or not, — whether tlie pythoness did really evoke him, or 
only deluded Saul with a false appearance, — I deduce 
from it, that Saul and those with him were persuaded 
that the spirits of the dead could appear to the living, 
and reveal to them things unknown to men. 

St. Augustine, in reply to Simplicius, who had pro- 
posed to him his difficulties respecting the truth of this 
apparition, says at first," that it is no more difficult to 
understand that the demon could evoke Samuel by the 
help of a witch, than it is to comprehend how that 
Satan could speak to God, and tempt the holy man Job, 
and ask permission to tempt the Apostles ; or that he 
could transport Jesus Christ himself to the highest 
pinnacle of the Temple of Jerusalem. 

We may believe also, that God, by a particular dis- 
pensation of his will, may have permitted the demon to 
evoke Samuel, and make him appear before Saul, to 
announce to him what was to happen to him, not by 
virtue of magic, not by the power of the demon alone, 
but solely because God willed it, and ordained it thus 
to be. 

He adds, that it may be advanced that it is not 
Samuel who appears to Saul, but a phantom, formed 
by the illusive power of the demon, and by the force of 
magic ; and that the Scripture, in giving the name of 
Samuel to this phantom, has made use of ordinary 
language, which gives the name of things themselves, 
« Augustin de Diversis Quaest. ad Simplicium, QusBst. cxi. 


to that which is but their image or representation in 
painting or in sculpture. 

If it should be asked, how this phantom could dis- 
cover the future, and predict to Saul his approaching 
death : we may likewise ask, how the demon could know 
Jesus Christ for God alone, while the Jews knew him 
not, — and the girl possessed with a spirit of divination, 
spoken of in the Acts of the Apostles,^ could bear witness 
to the Apostles, and undertake to become their advocate 
in rendering good testimony to their mission. 

Lastly ; St. Augustine concludes by saying, that he 
does not think himself sufficiently enlightened to decide 
whether the demon can, or cannot, by means of magical 
enchantments, evoke a soul after the death of the body, 
so that it may appear and become visible in a corporeal 
form, which may be recognised, and capable of speak- 
ing; and revealino' the hidden future. And if this 
potency be not accorded to magic and the demon, we 
must conclude that all which is related of this appari- 
tion of Samuel to Saul, is an illusion and a false 
apparition made by the demon to deceive men. 

In the books of the Maccabees,^ the High Priest 
Onias, who had been dead several years before that 
time, appeared to Judas Maccabeeus, in the attitude of 
a man whose hands were outspread, and who was 
praying for the people of the Lord : at the same time 
the Prophet Jeremiah, long since dead, appeared to the 
same Maccabajus ; and Onias said to him, " Behold that 
holy man, who is the protector and friend of his 
brethren ; it is he who prays continunlly for the Lord's 
h Acts xxvi. 17. '2 Mace. x. 29. 


people, and for the Holy City of Jerusalem." So 
saying, he put into the hands of Judas a golden sword, 
saying to him, " Receive this sword as a gift from 
heaven, by means of which you shall destroy the 
enemies of my people Israel." 

In the same second book of the Maccabees,'^ it is 
related, that in the thickest of the battle fought by 
Timotheus, general of the armies of Syria, against 
Judas Maccabaeus, they saw five men as if descended 
from heaven, mounted on horses with golden bridles, 
who were at the head of the army of the Jews, two of 
them on each side of Judas Maccabaeus, the chief 
captain of the army of the Lord ; they shielded him 
with their arms, and launched against the enemy such 
fiery darts and thunder-bolts, that they were blinded 
and mortally afraid and terrified. 

These five armed horsemen, these combatants for 
Israel, are apparently no other than Mattathias, the 
father of Judas Maccabasus,^ and four of his sons, who 
were already dead ; there yet remained of his seven sons, 
but Judas Maccabaius, Jonathan, and Simon. We may 
also understand it as five angels, who were sent by 
God to the assistance of the Maccabees. In whatever 
Avay we regard it, these are not doubtful apparitions, 
both on account of the certainty of the book in which 
they are related, and the testimony of a whole army by 
which they were seen. 

Whence I conclude, that the Hebrews had no doubt 
that the spirits of the dead could return to earth, that 
they did return in fact, and that Ihey discovered to the 

^ 2 Mace. X. 29. i 1 Mace. xi. 1. 

VOL. I. N 


living things beyond our natural knowledge. Moses 
expressly forbids the Israelites to consult the dead."^ 
But these apparitions did not show themselves in solid 
and material bodies ; the Saviour assures us of it when 
he says, " Spirits have neither flesh nor bones." It 
was often only an aerial figure which struck the senses 
and the imagination, like the images which w^e see in 
sleep, or that we firmly believe we hear and see. The 
inhabitants of Sodom were struck with a species of 
blindness,^ which prevented them from seeing the door 
of Lot's house, into which the angels had entered. 
The soldiers who sought for Elisha, were in the same 
way blinded in some sort,° although they spoke to him 
they were seeking for, who led them into Samaria 
without their perceiving him. The two disciples who 
went on Easter-day to Emmaus, in company with 
Jesus Christ their Master, did not recognise him till 
the breaking of the bread.? 

Thus, the apparitions of spirits to mankind are not 
always in a corporeal form, palpable and real ; but God, 
who ordains or permits them, often causes the persons 
to whom these apparitions appear, to behold, in a dream 
or otherwise, those spirits which speak to, warn, or 
threaten them ; who makes them see things as if 
present, which in reality are not before their eyes, but 
only in their imagination ; which does not prove these 
visions and warnings not to be sent from God, who, 
by hhnself, or by the ministration of his angels, or by 
souls disengaged from the body, inspires the minds of 

'" Deut. xviii. 11. ^ Gen, xix. 11. 

" 2 Kini^s vi. 19. p Luke xxvi. IG. 


men with what he judges proper for them to know, 
whether in a dream, or by external signs, or by words, 
or else by certain impressions made on their senses, or 
in their imagination, in the absence of every external 

If the apparitions of the souls of the dead were 
things in nature and of their own choice, there would 
be few persons who would not come back to visit the 
things or the persons which have been dear to them 
during this life. St. Augustine says it of his mother, 
St. Monica, 1 who had so tender and constant an 
affection for him, and who, while she lived, followed 
him and sought him by sea and land. The bad rich 
man would not have failed, either, to come in person to 
his brethren and relations, to inform them of the 
wretched condition in which he found himself in hell. 
It is a pure favour of the mercy or the power of God, 
and which he grants to very few persons, to make their 
appearance after death ; for which reason we should be 
very much on our guard against all that is said, and all 
that we find written on the subject in books. 

1 Aug. de Cur^ gerenda pro Mortuis, c. xiii. 




St. Augustine^ acknowledo^es that the dead have 
often appeared to the living, have revealed to them the 
spot where their body remained unburied, and have 
shown them that where they wished to be interred. He 
says, morever, that a noise was often heard in churches 
where the dead were inhumed, and that dead persons 
have been seen often to enter the houses wherein they 
dwelt before their decease. 

We read that in the Council of Elvira,^ which was 
held about the year 300, it was forbidden to light 
tapers in the cemeteries, that the souls of the saints 
might not be disturbed. The night after the death of 
Julian the Apostate, St. Basil ^ had a vision in which 
he fancied he saw the martyr, St. Mercurius, who 
received an order from God to o-o and kill Julian. 
A little time afterwards the same saint Mercurius 
returned and cried out, — " Lord, Julian is pierced and 
wounded to death, as thou commandedst me." In the 
morning St. Basil announced this news to the people. 

' Aug. de Cur.l; gercnd. pro Mortiiis, c. x. 

^ Concil. Eliber, anno circiter 300. 

•^ Amplilo. vita S. Basil, and Chronic. Alex. p. 692. 


St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antloch, who suffered mar- 
tyrdom in 107/ appeared to his disciples, embracing 
them, and standing near them ; and as they persevered 
in praying with still greater fervour, they saw him 
crowned with glory, as if in perspiration, coming from 
a great combat, environed with light. 

After the death of St. Ambrose, which happened on 
Easter Eve, the same night in which they baptized 
neophytes, several newly baptized children saw the 
holy Bishop,^ and pointed him out to their parents, who 
could not see him because their eyes were not purified, 
at least says St. Paulinus, a disciple of the saint, and 
who wrote his life. 

He adds, that on the day of his death the saint appeared 
to several holy persons dwelling in the East, praying 
with them and giving them the imposition of hands ; 
they wrote to Milan, and it was found, on comparing 
the dates, that this occurred on the very day he died. 
These letters were still preserved in the time of Paulinus, 
who wrote all these things. This holy Bishop was also 
seen several times after his death praying in the Am- 
brosian Church at Milan, which he promised during 
his life that he would often visit. During^ the sieire of 
Milan, St. Ambrose appeared to a man of that same 
city, and promised that the next day succour would 
arrive, which happened accordingly. A blind man 
having learnt in a vision that the bodies of the holy 
martyrs Sicineus and Alexander would come by sea to 
Milan, and that Bishop Ambrose was going to meet 

^ Acta sincera Mart. pp. 11, 22. Edit. 1713. 
* Paulin. vit. S. Ambros. n. 47, 48. 


tliem, he prayed the same Bishop to restore him to 
sight, in a dream • Ambrose replied, " Go to Milan ; 
come and meet my brethren ; they will arrive on such 
a day, and they will restore you to sight." The blind 
man went to Milan, where he had never been before, 
touched the shrine of the holy martyrs, and recovered 
his eyesight. He himself related the circumstance to 

The Lives of the Saints are full of apparitions of 
deceased persons; and if they were collected, large 
volumes might be filled. St. Ambrose, of whom we 
have just spoken, discovered after a miraculous fashion 
the bodies of St. Gervasius and St. Protasius,^ and those 
of St. Nazairius and St. Celsus. 

Evodius, Bishop of Upsal in Africa," a great friend 
of St. Augustine, was well persuaded of the reality of 
apparitions of the dead, from his own experience, and 
he relates several instances of such things, which hap- 
pened in his own time ; as, that of a good Avidow to 
whom a deacon appeared, who had been dead for four 
years. He was accompanied by several of the servants 
of God, of both sexes, who were preparing a palace of 
extraordinary beauty. This widow asked him for w^iom 
they were making these preparations ; he replied that 
it was for the youth who died the preceding day. At 
the same time a venerable old man, who w^as in the 
same palace, commanded two young men, arrayed in 
white, to take the deceased young man out of his grave, 
and conduct him to this place. As soon as he had left 

^ Ambros. Epist. 22, p, 874 : vid. notes, ibid. 

s Evod. Upsal. apud Aug. Epist. clviii. Idem, Aug. Epist. clix. 


the grave, fresh roses and rose-beds sprang up, and the 
young man appeared to a monk, and told him that Grod 
had received him into the number of his elect, and had 
sent him to fetch his father, who in fact died four days 
after of slow fever. 

Evodius asks himself diverse questions on this recital : 
If the soul on quitting its (mortal) body does not 
retain a certain subtile body, with which it appears, and 
by means of which it is transported from one spot to 
another ? If The Angels, even, have not a certain kind 
of body ; for if they are incorporeal, how can they be 
counted ? And if Samuel appeared to Saul, how could 
it take place if Samuel had no members ? He adds, 
"I remember well that Profuturus, Privatus and Ser- 
vitius, whom I had known in the monastery here, 
appeared to me, and talked with me after their decease ; 
and what they told me, happened. Was it their soul 
which appeared to me, or was it some other spirit which 
assumed their form?" He concludes from this that the 
soul is not absolutely bodiless, since God alone is incor- 

St. Augustine, who was consulted on this matter by 
Evodius, does not think that the soul, after the death 
of the body, is clothed with any material substantial 
form ; but he confesses that it is very difficult to explain 
how an infinite number of things are done, which pass 
in our minds, as well in our sleep as when we are 
awake, in which Ave seem to see, feel, and discourse, 
and do things which it would appear could be done 

^ " Animam igitur omni corpore carere omnino non posse, illud, ut 
puto, ostendit quia Deus solus omni corpore semper caret." 


only hj the body, although it is certain that nothing 
bodily occurs. And how can we e>; plain things so 
unknown, and so far beyond anything that we expe- 
rience every day, since we cannot explain even what 
daily experience shows us/ Evodius adds, that several 
persons after their decease have been goino; and coming 
in their houses as before, both day and night ; and 
that in churches where the dead were buried, they 
often heard a noise in the night, as of persons praying 

St. Augustine, to Avhom Evodius writes all this, 
acknowledges that there is a great distinction to be 
made between true and false visions, and that he could 
wish he had some sure means of discerning; them cor- 
rectly. The same saint relates on this occasion a 
remarkable story, which has much connexion with the 
matter we are treating upon. A physician named 
Gennadius, a great friend of St. Augustine's, and well 
known at Carthage for his great talent and his kindness 
to the poor, doubted whether there was another life. 
One day he saw, in a dream, a young man who said to 
him, " Follow me ;" he followed him in spirit, and found 
himself in a city, where, on his right hand, he heard 
most admirable melody ; he did not remember what he 
heard on his left. 

Another time he saw the same young man, who said 
to him, " Do you know me?" "Very well," answered 
he. " And whence comes it that you know me?" He 
related to him what he had showed him in the city 

' " Quid se praecipitat de rarissimis aut inexpertis quasi definitam 
ferre sententiam, cum quotidiana et continua non solvat ? " 


whither he had led him. The young man added, 
*' Was it in a dream, or awake, that you saw all that?" 
" In a dream," he replied. The young man then asked. 
" Where is your body now ? " " In my bed," said he. 
" Do you know that now you see nothing with the eyes 
of your body?" "I know it," answered he. "Well, 
then, with what eyes do you behold me?" As he 
hesitated, and knew not what to reply, the young man 
said to him, " In the same way that you see and hear 
me now that your eyes are shut, and your senses 
asleep ; thus after your death you will live, you will 
see, you will hear, but with eyes of the spirit ; so doubt 
not that there is another life after the present one." 

The great St. Anthony, one day when he was wide 
awake, saw the soul of the hermit, St. Ammon, being 
carried into heaven in the midst of choirs of angels. 
Now St. Ammon died that same day, at five days' 
journey from thence, in the desert of Nitria. The same 
St. Anthony saw also the soul of St. Paul Hermit us 
ascending to heaven surrounded by choirs of angels and 
prophets. St. Benedict beheld the spirit of St. Germain, 
Bishop of Capua, at the moment of his decease, who 
was carried into heaven by angels. The same saint 
saw the soul of his sister, St. Scholastica, rising to 
heaven in the form of a dove. We might multiply 
such instances without end. They are true apparitions 
of souls separated from their bodies. 

St. Sulpicius Severus, being at some distance from 
the city of Tours, and ignorant of what was passing 
there, fell one morning into a light slumber; as he 
slept he beheld St. Martin, who appeared to him in 


274 THE phaxto:m wokld. 

a white garment, his countenance shining, his eyes 
sparkHng, his hair of a purple colour ; it was, never- 
theless, very easy to recognise him by his air and his 
face. St. Martin showed himself to him with a smiling 
countenance, and holding in his hand the book which 
St. Sulpicius Severus had composed upon his life. 
SuJpicius threw himself at his feet, embraced his knees, 
and implored his benediction, which the saint bestowed 
upon him. All this passed in a vision ; and as St. 
Martin rose into the air, Sulpicius Severus saw still in 
the spirit the priest Clarus, a disciple of the saint, who 
went the same way and rose towards heaven. At that 
moment Sulpicius awoke, and a lad who served him, 
on entering, told him that two monks who were just 
arrived from Tours, had brought word that St. Martin 
was dead. 

The Baron de Coussey, an old and respectable magis- 
trate, has related to me more than once, that being at 
more than sixty leagues from the town where his 
mother died, the night she breathed her last, he was 
awakened by the barking of a dog which laid at the 
foot of his bed ; and at the same moment he perceived 
the head of his mother environed by a great light, who, 
entering by the Avindow into his chamber, spoke to him 
distinctly, and announced to him various things con- 
cernino: the state of his affairs. 

St. Chrysostom, in his exile,^ and the night preceding 

his death, saw the martyr, St. Basilicus, who said to 

him, — " Courage, brother John ; to-morrow we sliall 

be together." The same thing was foretold to a priest 

^ Palladius, Dialog, de Vita Chrysost. c. xi. 


who lived in the same place. St. Basilicus said to him, 
" Prepare a place for my brother John ; for, behold, he 
is coming." 

The discovery of the body of St. Stephen, the first 
martyr, is very celebrated in the Church : this occurred 
in the year 415. St. Gamaliel, who had been the master 
of St. Paul before his conversion, appeared to a priest 
named Lucius, who slept in the Baptistery of the 
Church at Jerusalem, to guard the sacred vases, and 
told him that his own body and that of St. Stephen the 
proto-martyr were interred at Caphargamala, in the 
suburb named Dilagabis ; that the body of his son 
named Abibas, and that of Nicodemus, reposed in the 
same spot. Lucius had the same vision three times 
following, with an interval of a few days between. 
John, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who was then at the 
Council of Dioscopolis, repaired to the spot, made the 
discovery and translation of the relics, which were 
transported to Jerusalem, and a great number of mira- 
cles were performed there. 

Licinius, being in his tent,^ thinking of the battle he 
was to fight on the morrow, saw an Angel, who dictated 
to him a form of prayer ^which he made his soldiers 
learn by heart, and by means of which he gained the 
victory over the Emperor Maximian. 

Mascezel, general of the Roman troops which Stili- 
cho sent into Africa against Gildas, prepared himself 
for this war, in imitation of Theodosius the Great, by 
prayer and the intervention of the servants of God. 
He took with him in his vessel some monks, whose 
^ Lactant. de Mort. Persec. c. 46. 


only occupation during tlie voyage was to pray, fast, 
and sing psalms. Gildas had an army of seventy 
thousand men; Mascezel had but five thousand, and 
did not think he could without rashness attempt to 
compete with an enemy so powerful, and so far superior 
in the number of his forces. As he was pondering 
uneasily on these things, St. Ambrose, who died the 
year before, appeared to him by night, holding a staff 
in his hand, and struck the ground three times, crying, 
"Here, here, here!" Mascezel understood that the 
saint promised him the victory in that same spot three 
days after. In fact, the third day he marched upon the 
enemy, oflPering peace to the first whom he met ; but 
an ensign having replied to him very arrogantly, he 
gave him a severe blow with his sword upon his arm, 
which made his standard swerve ; those who were afar 
off thought that he was yielding, and that he lowered his 
standard in sign of submission, and they hastened to do 
the same. Paulinus, who wrote the life of St. Ambrose, 
assures us that he had these particulars from the lips 
of Mascezel himself; and Orosius heard them from 
those who had been eye-witnesses of the fact. 

The persecutors having indicted martyrdom on seven 
Christian virgins,™ one of them appeared the following 
night to St. Theodosius of Ancyra, and revealed to him 
the spot where herself and her companions had been 
thrown into the lake, each one with a stone tied round 
her neck. As Theodosius and his people were occupied 
in searching for their bodies, a voice from heaven 
warned Theodosius to be on his g-uard aix^inst the 
" Acta sincera Martyr, passion. S. Thcodos. M. pp. 343, Mi. 


traitor, meaning to indicate Polycronius, who betrayed 
Theodosius, and was the occasion of his being arrested 
and martyred. 

St. Potamienna,^ a Christian vii'gin who suffered 
martyrdom at Alexandria, appeared after her death to 
several persons, and was the cause of their conversion 
to Christianity. She appeared in particular to a soldier 
named Basilidus, w'ho, as he was conducting her to the 
place of execution, had protected her from the insults 
of the populace. This soldier, encouraged by Pota- 
mienna, who in a vision placed a garland upon his head, 
was baptized, and received the crown of martyrdom. 

St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop of N^eocoBsarea in 
Pontus, being greatly occupied with certain theological 
difficulties, raised by heretics concerning the mysteries 
of religion, and having passed great part of the night 
in studying those matters, saw a venerable old man 
enter his room, having by his side a lady of august and 
divine form ; he comprehended that these were the 
Holy Yirgin and St. John the Evangelist. The Virgin 
exhorted St. John to instruct the Bishop, and dissipate 
his embarrassment, by explaining clearly to him the 
m}'stery of the Trinity, and the Divinity of the Verb 
or Word. He did so, and St. Gregory wrote it down 
instantly. It is the doctrine which he left to his Church, 
and which tliey have to this very day. 

° Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. vi. c. 8. 



Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny, relates, 
tbat a good priest named Stephen, having received the 
confession of a lord named Guy, who was mortally 
wounded in a combat, this lord appeared to him com- 
pletely armed some time after his death, and begged 
of him to tell his brother Anselm, to restore an ox 
which he, Guy, had taken from a peasant, whom he 
named, and to repair the damage which he had done to 
a village which did not belong to him, and which he 
had taxed with undue charges ; that he had forgotten 
to declare these two sins in his last confession, and that 
he was cruelly tormented for it. " And as assurance of 
the truth of what I tell you," added he, "when you 
return home, you will find that you have been robbed 
of the money you intended for your expenses in going 
to St. Jacques." The cure, on his return to his house, 
found his money gone, but could not acquit himself of 
his commission, because Anselm was absent. A few days 
after, Guy appeared to him again, and reproached him 
for having neglected to perform what he had asked of 
him. The cure excused himself on account of the 


absence of Anselm; and at length went to him and 
told him what he was charged to do. Anselm answered 
him harshly, that he was not obliged to do penance for 
his brother^s sins. 

The dead man appeared a third time, and implored 
the cure to assist him In this extremity ; he did so, and 
restored the value of the ox ; but as the rest exceeded 
his power, he gave alms, and recommended Guy to 
the worthy people of his acquaintance; and he ap- 
peared no more. 

Richer, a monk of Senones,^ speaks of a spirit which 
returned in his time, in the town of Epinal, about the 
year 1212, In the house of a burgess named Hugh 
de la Cour, and who, from Christmas to Midsummer, 
did a variety of things in that same house, in sight of 
every body. They could hear him speak, they could 
see all he did, but nobody could see him. He said, he 
belonged to Clexentelne, a village seven leagues from 
Epinal ; and what Is also remarkable is, that during 
the six months he was heard about the house, he did no 
harm to any one. One day, Hugh having ordered his 
domestic to saddle his horse, and the valet being busy 
about something else, deferred doing it, when the spirit 
did his work, to the great astonishment of all the 
household. Another time, when Hugh was absent, 
the spirit asked Stephen, the son-in-law of Hugh, for a 
penny, to make an offering of it to St. Groeric, the 
patron saint of Epinal. Stephen presented him with 
an old denier of Provence; but the spirit refused it, 
saying, he would have a good" denier of Thoulouse. 
* Eiclier Senon. in Chronic, m. (Hoc non exslat in impresso.) 


Stephen placed oq the threshold of the door a Thou- 
lousian denier, which disappeared immediately ; and 
the following night, a noise, as of a man who was walk- 
ing therein, w^as heard in the Church of St. Goeric. 

Another time, Hugh having bought some fish to 
make his family a repast, the spirit transported the 
fish to the garden which was behind the house, put 
half of it on a tile, (^scandula,) and the rest in a mortar, 
where it was found ag-ain. Another time, Huo-h desir- 
ing to be bled, told his daughter to get ready some 
bandages. Immediately the spirit went into another 
room, and fetched a new shirt, Avhich he tore up into 
several bandages, presented them to the master of the 
house, and told him to choose the best. Another day, 
the servant having spread out some linen in the garden 
to dry, the spirit carried it all up stairs, and folded 
them more neatly than the cleverest laundress could 
have done. 

A man named Guy de la Torre,^ who died at Verona 
in 1306, at the end of eight days spoke to his wife and 
the neighbours of both sexes, to the prior of the 
Dominicans, and to the professor of theology, who 
asked him several question in theology, to wdiich he 
replied very pertinently. He declared that he was in 
purgatory for certain unexpiated sins. They asked 
him how he could possibly speak, not having the 
organs of the voice ; he replied, that souls separated 
from the body have the faculty of forming for them- 
selves instruments of the air capable of pronouncing 
words ; he added, that the fire of hell acted upon 
*• Herman Contract. Chronic, p. 1006, 


spirits, not by its natural virtue, but by the power of 
God, of which that fire is the instrument. 

Here follows another remarkable instance of an 
apparition, related by M. d'Aubigne. " I affirm upon 
the word of the king'^ the second prodigy, as being one 
of the three stories which he reiterated to us, his hair 
standing on end at the time, as we could perceive. 
This one is, that the queen having gone to bed at an 
earlier hour than usual, and there being present at her 
coucher, amongst other persons of note, the King of 
Navarre,*^ the Archbishop of Lyons, the Ladies de Retz, 
de Lignerolles, and de Sauve, two of whom have since 
confirmed this conversation. As she was hastening to 
bid them orood nio;ht, she threw herself with a start 
upon her bolster, put her hands before her face, and 
crying out violently, she called to her assistance those 
who were present, wishing to show them, at the foot 
of the bed, the cardinal, (de Lorraine,) who extended his 
hand towards her ; she cried out several times, ' M. the 
Cardinal, I have nothing to do with you.' The King 
of Navarre at the same time sent one of his gentlemen, 
who brought back word that he had expired at that 
same moment." 

I take from Sully's Memoirs,^ which have just been 
reprinted in better order than they were before, 
another singular fact, which may be related with these. 
We still endeavour to find out what can be the nature 

•= D'Aubigne, Hist, Univ. lib. ii. c. 12. Ap. 1574. 
^ Henry I V". 

« Mem. de Sully, in 4to. torn. i. liv. x. p. 562, note 26. Or Edit, in 
12mo. torn. iii. p. 321, note 26. 


of that illusion, seen so often and by the eyes of so 
many persons in the Forest of Fontainebleau ; it was 
a phantom surrounded by a pack of hounds^ whose 
cries were heard, while they might be seen at a dis- 
tance, but all disappeared if any one approached. 

The note of M. d'Ecluse, editor of these Memoirs, 
enters into longer details. He observes, that M. de 
Perefixe makes mention of this phantom ; and he makes 
him say, with a hoarse voice, one of these three sen- 
tences : Do you expect me ? or. Do you hear me ? or, 
Amend yourself. " And they believe," says he, " that 
these were sports of sorcerers, or of the malignant 
spirit." The Journal of Henry IV., and the Septenary 
Chronicle, speak of them also, and even assert that this 
phenomenon alarmed Henry IV. and his courtiers very 
much. And Peter Matthew says something of it in 
his History of France, torn. ii. p. 68. Bongars speaks 
of it as others do,^ and asserts that it was a hunter, 
who had been killed in tliis forest in the time of 
Francis I. But now we hear no more of this spectre, 
though there is still a road in this forest which retains 
the name of the Grand Veneur, in memory, it is said, 
of this visionary scene. 

A Chronicle of Metz,? under the date of the year 
1330, relates the apparition of a spirit at Lagni sur 
Marne, six leagues from Paris. It was a good lady, 
who after her death spoke to more than twenty people, 
her father, sister, daugliter, and son-in-law, and to 
her other friends, — asking them to have said for her 

' Bongars, Epist. ad Camerarium. 
i Chronic. Metens. Anno, 1330. 


particular masses, as being more efficacious than the 
common mass. As they feared it might be an evil 
spirit, they read to it the beginning of the Gospel of 
St. John ; and they made it say the Pater ^ credo, and 
confiteor. She said, she had beside her two angels, one 
bad and one good ; and that the good angel revealed to 
her what she ought to say. They asked her, if they 
should go and fetch the Holy Sacrament from the 
altar ; she replied, it was with them, for her father, 
who was present, and several others among them, had 
received it on Christmas-day, which was the Tuesday 

Father Taillepied, a Cordelier, and professor of theo- 
logy at Rouen,^ who composed a book expressly on the 
subject of apparitions, which was printed at Kouen in 
1600, says, that one of his fraternity with whom he was 
acquainted, named Brother Gabriel, appeared to several 
monks of the convent at Nice, and begged of them to 
satisfy the demand of a shop-keeper at Marseilles, of 
whom he had taken a coat he had not paid for. On 
being asked why he made so much noise, he replied, 
that it was not himself, but a bad spirit who wished to 
appear instead of him, and prevent him from declaring 
the cause of his torment. 

I have been told by two canons of St. Diez, in our 
neighbourhood, that three months after the death of 
M. Henri, canon of St. Diez, of their brotherhood, the 
canon to whom the house devolved, going with one 
of his brethren, at two o'clock in the afternoon, to 
look at the said house, and see what alterations it 
•» Taillepied, Traite de 1' Apparition des Esprits, c. xv. p. 173. 


might suit him to make in it, they went into the 
kitchen, and both of them saw in the next room, which 
was large and very light, a tall ecclesiastic of the same 
height and figure as the defunct canon, who, turning 
towards them, looked them in the face for two minutes, 
then crossed the said room, and went up a little dark 
staircase which led to the garret. 

These two gentlemen, being much frightened, left 
the house instantly, and related the adventure to some 
of the brotherhood, who were of opinion that they 
ought to return and see if there was not some one 
hidden in the house ; they went, they sought, they 
looked every where, without finding any one. 

We read in the History of the Bishops of Mans,^ 
that in the time of Bishop Hugh, who lived in 1135, 
they heard, in the house of Provost Nicholas, a spirit, 
who alarmed the nei2;hbours and those who lived in 
the house, by uproar and frightful noises, as if he had 
thrown enormous stones against the walls, with a force 
which shook the roof, walls, and ceilings ; he trans- 
ported the dishes and the plates from one place to 
another, without their seeing the hand which moved 
them. This genius lighted a candle, though very far 
from the fire. Sometimes, when the meat was placed 
on the table, he would scatter bran, ashes, or soot, to 
prevent them from touching any of it. Amica, the 
wife of the Provost Nicholas, having prepared some 
thread to be made into cloth, the spirit twisted and 
ravelled it in such a way, that all who saw it could not 
sufficiently admire the manner in which it was done. 
' Anecdote Mabill. p. 320. Edition in fol. 


Priests were called in, who sprinkled holy water 
every where, and desired all those who were there to 
make the sign of the cross. Towards the first and 
second night, they heard as it were the voice of a young 
girl, who, with sighs that seemed drawn from the bottom 
of her heart, said in a lamentable and sobbing voice, 
that her name was Gamier ; and addressing itself to the 
provost, said, " Alas ! whence do I come ? from what 
distant country, through how many storms, dangers, 
through snow, cold, fire, and bad weather, have I 
arrived at this place ! I have not received power to 
harm any one — but prepare yourselves with the sign 
of the cross against a band of evil spirits, who are 
here only to do you harm ; have a mass of the Holy 
Ghost said for me, and a mass for those defunct ; and 
you, my dear sister-in-law, give some clothes to the 
poor, for me." 

They asked this spirit several questions on things 
past and to come, to which it replied very pertinently ; 
it explained even the salvation and damnation of 
several persons ; but it would not enter into any argu- 
ment, nor yet into conference with learned men, who 
were sent by the Bishop of Mans ; this last circum- 
stance is very remarkable, and casts some suspicion on 
this apparition. 




Within a short time, a work composed by a Father 
Premontre, of the Abbey of Toussaints, in the Black 
Forest, has been communicated to me. His work is in 
manuscript, and entitled, "Umbra Humberti, hoc est 
historia memorabilis D. Humberti Birkii mira post 
mortem apparitione, per A. Gr. N." 

This Humbert Birck was a burgess of note, in the 
town of Oppenheim, and master of a country house 
called Berenbach ; he died in the month of November, 
1620, a few days before the feast of St. Martin. On 
the Saturday which followed his funeral, they began to 
hear certain noises in the house where he had lived 
with his first wife ; for at the time of his death he had 
married again. 

The master of this house, suspecting that it was his 
brother-in-law who haunted it, said to him, " If you 
are Humbert, my brother-in-law, strike three times 
against the wall." At the same time they heard three 
strokes only, for ordinarily he struck several times. 
Sometimes, also, he was heard at the fountain where 
they went for water, and he frightened all the neigh- 
bourhood ; he did not always utter articulate sounds, 


but he would knock repeatedly, make a noise, or a 
groan, or a shrill whistle, or sounds as a person in 
lamentation ; all this lasted for six months, and then 
it suddenly ceased. At the end of a year he made 
himself heard more loudly than ever. The master 
of the house, and his domestics, the boldest amongst 
them, at last asked him what he wished for, and in 
what they could help him ? He replied, but in a 
hoarse low tone, " Let the cure come here next 
Saturday with my children." The cure being indis- 
posed, could not go thither on the appointed day, but 
he went on the Monday following, accompanied by a 
good many people. 

Humbert received notice of this, and he answered 
in a very intelligible manner. They asked him if he 
required any masses to be said ? He asked for three. 
They then wished to know if alms should be given in 
his name ? He said, " I wish them to give eight mea- 
sures of corn to the poor, and that my widow may give 
something to all my children." He afterwards ordered 
that what had been badly distributed in his succession, 
which amounted to about twentv florins, should be set 
aside. They asked why he infested that house rather 
than another ? He answered, that he was forced to it 
by conjuration and maledictions. Had he received the 
sacraments of the Church ? "I received them from 
the cure, your predecessor." He was made to say the 
Pater and the Ave ; he recited them with difficulty, 
saying, that he was prevented by an evil spirit, who 
would not let him tell the cure many other things. 
The cure, who was named Premontre, of the abbey 


of Toussaints, came to the monastery on Tuesday the 
12 th of January, 1621, m order to take the opinion of 
the Superior on this singular affair ; they let him have 
three monks to help him with their counsels. They 
all repaired to the house wherein Humbert continued 
his importunity ; for nothing that he had requested had 
as yet been executed. A great number of those who 
lived near were assembled in the house. The master 
of it told Humbert to rap against the wall ; he knocked 
very gently : then the master desired him to go and 
fetch a stone and knock louder ; he deferred a little, 
as if he had been to pick up a stone, and gave a 
stronger blow upon the wall : the master whispered in 
his neighbour's ear as softly as he could that he should 
rap seven times, and directly he rapped seven times. 
He always showed great respect to the priests, and did 
not reply to them so boldly as to the laity ; and when 
he was asked why — " It is," said he, " because they 
have with them the Holy Sacrament." However, they 
had it no otherwise than because they had said mass 
that day. The next day the three masses which he 
had required were said, and all was disposed for a pil- 
grimage, which he had specified in the last conversation 
they had with him ; and they promised to give alms 
for him the first day possible. From that time Humbert 
haunted them no more. 

The same monk, Premontre, relates that on the 9 th 
of September, 1625, a man named John Steinlin died 
at a place called Altheim, in the diocese of Constance. 
Steinlin was a man in easy circumstances, and a com- 
mon-councilman of his town. Some days after his 


death he appeared during the night to a tailor, named 
Simon Bauh, in the form of a man surrounded by 
a sombre flame, like that of lighted sulphur, going and 
coming in his own house, but without speaking. Bauh, 
who was disquieted by this sight, resolved to ask him 
what he could do to serve him. He found an oppor- 
tunity to do so, the 17th of November in the same 
year, 1625 ; for, as he was reposing at night near his 
stove, a little after eleven o'clock, he beheld this spectre 
environed by fire like sulphur, who came into his room, 
going and coming, shutting and opening the windows. 
The tailor asked him what he desired. He replied, in 
a hoarse interrupted voice, that he could help very 
much, if he would; " but," added he, "do not promise 
me to do so, if you are not resolved to execute your 
promises." " I will execute them, if they are not 
beyond my power," replied he. 

" I wish, then," replied the spirit, " that you would 
cause a mass to be said, in the chapel of the Virgin at 
Rotembourg ; I made a vow to that intent during my 
life, and I have not acquitted myself of it. Moreover, 
you must have two masses said at Altheim, the one of the 
Defunct and the other of the Virgin ; and as I did not 
always pay my servants exactly, I wish that a quarter 
of corn should be distributed to the poor." Simon 
promised to satisfy him on all these points. The spectre 
held out his hand, as if to ensure his promise ; but 
Simon, fearing that some harm might happen to himself, 
tendered him the board which came to hand, and the 
spectre having touched it, left tlie print of his hand 
with the four fingers and thumb, as if fire had been 

VOL. I. O 


there, and had left a pretty deep impression. After 
that, he vanished with so much noise that it was heard 
three houses off. 

I related in the first edition of this dissertation on 
the return of spirits, an adventure which happened at 
Fontenoy on the Moselle, where it was aflSrmed that 
a spirit had in the same manner made the impression 
of its hand on a handkerchief, and had left the impress 
of the hand and of the palm, well marked. The hand- 
kerchief is in the hands of one Casmer, a constable 
living at Toul, who received it from his uncle, the 
cure of Fontenoy ; but, on a careful investigation of 
the thing, it was found that a young blacksmith, who 
com'ted a young girl to whom the handkerchief be- 
longed, had forged an iron hand to print it on the 
handkerchief, and persuade people of the reality of the 

At St. Avoid, a town of German Lorraine, in the 
house of the cure, named M. Royer de Monelos, there 
was something very similar which appears to have been 
performed by a servant gu'l, sixteen years of age, who 
heard and saw, as she said, a woman who made a great 
noise in the house ; but she was the only person who 
saw and heard her, although others heard also the noise 
which was made in the house. They saw also the 
young servant, as it were pushed, dragged, and struck, 
by the spirit, but never saw it, nor yet heard his voice. 
This contrivance began on the night of the 31st of 
January, 1694, and finished about the end of February 
the same year. The cure conjured the spirit in Ger- 
man and French. He made no reply to the exorcisms 


in French but sighs ; and as they terminated the 
German exorcism, saying, " Let every spirit praise the 
Lord," the girl said that the spirit had said, '^ And me 
also ;" but she alone heard it. 

Some monks of the abbey were requested to come 
also and exorcise the spirit. They came, and with them 
some burgesses of note of St. Avoid ; and neither before 
nor after the exorcisms did they see or hear any thing, 
except that the servant girl seemed to be pushed 
violently, and the doors were roughly knocked at. 
By dint of exorcisms they forced the spirit, or rather 
the servant who alone heard and saw it, to declare that 
she was neither maid nor wife ; that she was called 
Claire Margaret Henri ; that a hundred and fifty years 
ago she had died at the age of twenty, after having 
lived servant at the cure of St. Avold's first of all for 
eight years, and that she had died at Guenvillier of 
grief and regret for having killed her own child. At 
last, the servant maintaining that she was not a good 
spirit, she said to her, " Give me hold of your petticoat 
(or skirt)."" She would do no such thing ; at the same 
time the spirit said to her, " Look at your petticoat ; 
my mark is upon it." She looked and saw upon her 
skirt the five fingers of the hand so distinctly that it 
did not appear possible for any living creature to have 
marked them better. This affair lasted about two 
months, and at this day, at St. Avoid, as in all the 
country, they talk of the spirit of St. Avoid as of a 
game played by that girl, in concert, doubtless, with 
some persons who wished to divert themselves by 
puzzling the good cure with his sisters, and all those 



who fell into the trap. They printed at Cusson's, at 
Nancy, in 1718, a relation of this event, which at first 
gained credence with a number of people, but who 
were quite undeceived in the end. 

I shall add to this story that which is related by 
Philip Melancthon,^ whose testimony in this matter 
ought not to be doubted. He says that his aunt having 
lost her husband when she was enceinte and near her 
time, she saw one day, towards evening, two persons 
come into her house ; one of them wore the form of 
her deceased husband, the other that of a tall Franciscan. 
At first she was frightened, but her husband reassured 
her, and told her that he had important things to com- 
municate to her; at the same time he beo:o:ed the 
Franciscan to pass into the next room, whilst he im- 
parted his wishes to his wife. Then he begged of her 
to have some masses said for the relief of his soul, and 
tried to persuade her to give her hand without fear ; 
as she was unwilling to give it, he assured her she 
would feel no pain. She gave him her hand, and her 
hand felt no pain when she withdrew it, but was so 
blackened that it remained discoloured all her life. 
After that, the husband called in the Franciscan ; they 
went out, and disappeared. Melancthon believes that 
these were two spectres ; he adds, that he knows several 
similar instances, related by persons worthy of credit. 

If these two men were only spectres, having neither 

flesh nor bones, how could one of them imprint a black 

colour on the hand of this widow ? How could he 

who appeared to the tailor Bauh imprint his hand on 

» Philipp. Melancth. Theolog. c. i. Oper. fol. 326, 327. 


the board which he presented to him ? If they were 
evil genii, why did they ask for masses and order resti- 
tutions ? Does Satan destroy his own empire, and does 
he inspire the living with the idea of doing good actions 
and of fearing the pains with which the sins of the 
wicked are punished by God ? 

But on looking at the affair in another light, may 
not the demon in this kind of apparitions, by which he 
asks for masses and prayers, intend to foment super- 
stition, by making the living believe that masses and 
prayers made for them after their death would free 
them from the pains of hell, even if they died in habitual 
crime and impenitence? Several instances are cited 
of rascals who have appeared after their death, asking 
for prayers like the bad rich man, and to whom prayers 
and masses can be of no avail, from the unhappy state 
in which they died. Thus, in all this, Satan seeks to 
establish his kingdom, and not to destroy It or di- 
minish it. 

We shall speak hereafter, in the Dissertation on 
Vampires, of apparitions of dead persons who have been 
seen, and acted like living ones in their own bodies. 

The same Melancthon relates that a monk came one 
day and rapped loudly at the door of Luther's dwelling, 
asking to speak to him ; he entered and said, " I enter- 
tain some popish errors upon which I shall be very glad 
to confer with you." " Speak," said Luther. He at 
first proposed to him several syllogisms, to which he 
easily replied ; he then proposed others, that were more 
difficult. Luther, being annoyed, answered him hastily, 
'^ Go, you embarrass me ; I have something else to do 


just now besides answering you." However, he rose 
and replied to his arguments. At the same time, having 
remarked that the pretended monk had hands like the 
claws of a bird, he said to him, " Art not thou he of 
whom it is said, in Genesis, ' He who shall be born of 
woman shall break the head of the serpent?'" The 
demon added, " But thou shalt engulf them all." At 
these words the confused demon retired angrily and with 
much fracas ; he left the room infested with a very bad 
smell, which was perceptible for some days. 

Luther, who assumes so much the esj)rit fort, and 
inveighs with so much warmth against private masses 
wherein they pray for the souls of the defunct,^ main- 
tains boldly that all the apparitions of spirits which we 
read in the lives of the saints, and who ask for masses 
for the repose of their souls, are only illusions of Satan, 
who appears to deceive the simple, and inspire them 
with useless confidence in the sacrifice of the mass. 
Whence he concludes that it is better at once to deny 
absolutely that there is any purgatory. 

He, then, did not deny either apparitions or the 
operations of the devil ; and he maintained that Eco- 
lampadius died under the blows of the devil,'' whose 
efforts he could not rebut ; and, speaking of himself, 
he affirms that awaking once with a start in the middle 
of the night, the devil appeared, to argue against him, 
when he was seized with mortal terror. The arguments 
of the demon were so pressing that they left him no 
repose of mind; the sound of his powerful voice, his 

^ Martin Luther, cle Abroganda Missa Privata, part. ii. 
' Ibid, tom.vii. 226. 


overwhelming manner of disputing when the question 
and the reply were perceived at once, left him no 
breathing time. He says again that the devil can kill 
and strangle, and, without doing all that, press a man so 
home by his arguments that it is enough to kill one ; 
"as I," says he, "have experienced several times." 
After such avowals, what can we think of the doctrine 
of this chief of the innovators ? 



The ancient Hebrews, as well as the greater number 
of other nations, were very careful in burying their 
dead. That appears from all history; we see in the 
Scripture how much attention the patriarchs paid in 
that respect to themselves and those belonging to 
them ; we know what praises are bestowed on the holy 
man Tobit, whose principal devotion consisted in giving 
sepulture to the dead. 

Josephus the historian^ says, that the Jews refused 
burial only to those w^ho committed suicide. Moses 
commanded them'' to give sepulture the same day and 
before sunset to any who were executed and hanged 
on a tree ; " because." says he, " he who is hung 
upon the tree is accursed of God, you w^ill take care 
not to pollute the land which the Lord your God has 
given you." That was practised in regard to our 
Saviour, who was taken down from the cross the same 
day that he had been crucified, and a few hours after 
his death. 

» Joseph Bell. Jud. lib. iii. c. 25. ''' Deut. xxi. 23. 


Homer/ speaking of the inhumanity of Achilles, who 
dragged the body of Hector after his car, says that he 
dishonoured and outraged the earth by this barbarous 
conduct. The Kabbis write, that the soul is not 
received into heaven until the gross body is interred, 
and entirely consumed. They believe, moreover, that 
after death the souls of the wicked are clothed with 
a kind of covering, with which they accustom them- 
selves to suffer the torments which are their due ; and 
that the souls of the just are invested with a resplen- 
dent body and a luminous garment, with which they 
accustom themselves to the glory which awaits them. 

Origen'^ acknowledges that Plato, in his Dialogue of 
the Soul, advances that the images and shades of the 
dead appeared sometimes near their tombs. Origen 
concludes from that, that those shades and those images 
must be produced by some cause ; and that cause, 
according to him, can only be, that the soul of the 
dead is invested with a subtile body like that of light, 
on which they are borne as in a car, where they 
appear to the living. Celsus maintained that the appa- 
ritions of Jesus Christ after his resurrection were only 
the effects of an imagination, smitten and prepossessed, 
which formed to itself the object of its illusions accord- 
ing to its wishes. Origen refutes this solidly by the 
recital of the evangelists, of the appearance of our 
Saviour to Thomas, who would not believe it was 
truly our Saviour until he had seen and touched his 
wounds; it was not, then, purely the effect of his 

^ Homer, Iliad XXIY. ^ Origenes contra Celsum, p. 97. 

o 3 


The same Orlgen/ and Theophylact after him, assert 
that the Jews and Pagans believe that the soul re- 
mained for some time near the body it had formerly 
animated ; and that it is to destroy that futile opinion 
that Jesus Christ, when he would resuscitate Lazarus, 
cries with a loud voice, " Lazarus, come forth ; " as if he 
would call from a distance the soul of this man who 
had been dead three days. 

TertulHan places the angels in the category of exten- 
sion,^ in which he places God himself, and maintains 
that the soul is corporeal. Origen believes also that 
the soul is material, and has a form;° an opinion which 
he may have taken from Plato. Arnobius, Lactantius, 
St. Hilary, several of the ancient fathers, and some 
theologians, have been of the same opinion ; and Grotius 
is displeased with those who have absolutely spiritual- 
ized the angels, demons, and souls separated from the 

The Jews of our days^ believe that after the body 
of a man is interred, his spirit goes and comes, and 
departs from the spot where it is destined to visit his 
body, and to know what passes around him ; that it is 
wandering during a whole year after the death of the 
body, and that it was during that year of delay that the 
Pvthoness of Endor evoked the soul of Samuel, after 
which time the evocation would have had no power 
over his spirit. 

The Pagans thought much in the same manner upon 

' Origenes in Joan. ix. &c. Theophylac. ibid. 

^ Tertull. lib. de Anima. 

? Origenes contra Gels. lib. ii. 

^ Bereseith Rabbee. c. 22. Vide Menasse de Resurrect. Mort. 


it. Lucan introduces Pompey, who consults a witch, 
and commands her to evoke the soul of a dead man 
to reveal to him what success he would meet with 
in his war against Caesar ; the poet makes this woman 
say, " Shade, obey my spells, for I evoke not a soul 
from gloomy Tartarus, but one which hath gone down 
thither a little while since, and which is still at the 
gate of hell."i 

The Egyptians^ believed that when the spirit of an 
animal is separated from its body by violence, it does 
not go to a distance, but remains near it. It is the same 
with the soul of a man who has died a violent death ; it 
remains near the body — nothing can make it go away ; 
it is retained there by sympathy; several have been 
seen sighing near their bodies which were interred. 
The magicians abuse their power over such in their 
incantations ; they force them to obey, when they 
are masters of the dead body, or even of part of it. 
Frequent experience taught them that there is a secret 
virtue in the body, which draws towards it the spirit 
which has once inhabited it ; wherefore those who wish 
to receive or become the receptacles of the spirits of 
such animals as know the future, eat the principal 
parts of them, as the hearts of crows, moles, or hawks. 
The spirit of these creatures enters into them at the 
moment they eat this food, and makes them give out 
oracles like divinities. 

' " Parete precanti 

ISTon in Tartareo latitantem poscimus antro, 
Assuetamque diii tenebris ; mod6 luce fugatS, 
Descendentem animam primo pallentis liiatu 
Hseret adhuc orci." Lucan. Pharsal. 16. 

'' Porphyr. de Abstin. lib. ii. art. 47. 


The Egyptians believed^ that when the spirit of 
a beast is delivered from its body, it is rational and pre- 
dicts the future, gives oracles, and is capable of all that 
the soul of man can do when disengaged from the body 
— for which reason they abstained from eating the flesh 
of animals, and worshipped the gods in the form of 

At Kome and at Metz there were colleges of priests 
consecrated to the service of the manes, "^ lares, images, 
shades, spectres, Erebus, Avernus or hell, under the pro- 
tection of the god Sylvanus; which demonstrates that the 
Latins and the Gauls recognised the return of souls and 
their apparition, and considered them as divinities to 
whom sacrifices should be offered to appease them and 
prevent them from doing harm. Nicander confirms the 
same thing, when he says that the Celts or the Gauls 
watched near the tombs of their great men, to derive 
from them knowledo;e concernino; the future. 

The ancient northern nations were fully persuaded 
that the spectres which sometimes appear are no other 
than the souls of persons lately deceased, and in their 
country they knew no remedy so proper to put a 
stop to this kind of apparition, as to cut off the head 
of the dead person, or to impale him, or pierce him 
through the body with a stake, or to burn it, as is now 
practised at this day in Hungary and Moravia with 
regard to vampires. 

The Greeks, who had derived their religion and 

theology from the Egyptians and Orientals, and the 

Latins, who took it from the Greeks, believed that the 

' Demet. lib. iv. art. 10. 

"' Gruter, p. Ixiii. ]\Iauric. Hist, de Metz, preface, p. 15. 


souls of the dead sometimes appeared to the living ; 
that the necromancers evoked them, and thus obtained 
answers concerning the future, and instructions relating 
to the time present. Homer, the greatest theologian, 
and perhaps the most curious of the Grecian writers, 
relates several apparitions, both of gods and heroes, and 
of men after their death. 

In the Odyssey^ Ulysses goes to consult the diviner 
Tyresias; and this sorcerer having prepared a grave 
full of blood to evoke the manes, Ulysses draws his 
sword, and prevents them from coming to drink this 
blood, for which they appear to thirst, and of which 
they would not permit them to taste before they hud 
replied to what was asked of them ; they (the Greeks 
and Latins) believed also that souls were not at rest, 
and that they wandered around their corpses, so long as 
they remained uninhumed." When they gave burial 
to a body, they called that animam condere^ to cover 
the soul, put It under the earth, and shelter It. They 
called it with a loud voice, and offered it libations of 
milk and blood. They also called that ceremony, hiding 
the shades, ^1 sending them with their body under ground. 

" Homer. Odyss. sub finem. Horat. lib. i. satyr. 8. Aug. de Cmt. 
Dei, lib. vii. c. 35. Clem. Alex, Paedag. lib. ii. c. 1. Prudent, lib. iv. 
contra Symmach. TertuU. de Anim. Lactantius, lib. iii. 
° Virgil, iEn. iii. 150, et seq. 

" Proptere^ jacet exanimum tibi corpus amici, 
Heu nescis ! totamque incestat funere classem. 
Sedibus hunc refer ante auis et conde sepulcre." 

p Animamque sepulcbro 

Condimus, et magna supremum voce ciemus." 

' "Eomuliis ut tumulo fraternas condidit umbras, 

Et mal^ veloci justa soluta Eemo." 


The sybil, speaking to -^neas, shows him the manes 
or shades wandering on the banks of the Acheron ; 
and tells him that they are souls of persons who have 
not received sepulture, and who w^ander about for a 
hundred years.'^ 

The philosopher Sallust,^ speaks of the apparitions of 
the dead around their tombs in dark bodies ; he tries 
to prove thereby the dogma of the metempsychosis. 

Here is a singular instance of a dead man, who 
refuses the rite of burial, acknowledging himself un- 
worthy of it. Agathias relates,* that some Pagan 
philosophers, not being able to relish the dogma of the 
unity of a God, resolved to go from Constantinople to 
the court of Chosroes, King of Persia, who was 
spoken of as a humane prince, and one who loved 
learning. Simplicius of Silicia, Eulamius the Phrygian, 
Protanus the Lydian, Hermenes and Philogenes of 
Phoenicia, and Isidorus of Gaza, repaired then to the 
court of Chosroes, and were well received there ; but 
they soon perceived that that country was much more 
corrupt than Greece, and they resolved to return to 
Constantinople, where Justinian then reigned. 

As they were on their way, they found an unburied 
corpse, took pity on it, and had it put in the ground 
by their own servants. The following night this man 
appeared to one of them, and told him not to inter him, 
who was not worthy of receiving sepulture ; for the 

^ " Haec omnis, quam cemis, inops inhumataque turba est. 

Centum errant annos, volitantque haec littora circum. 
« Sallust. Philos. c. 19, 20. 
' Stolust, lib, ii. de Bella Persico, sub fin. 


earth abhorred one who had defiled his own mother. 
The next day they found the same corpse cast out of 
the ground, and they comprehended that it was defiled 
by incest, which rendered it unworthy of the honour of 
receiving burial, although such crimes were known in 
Persia, and did not excite the same horror there as in 
other countries. 

The Greeks and Latins believed, that the souls of 
the dead came and tasted what was presented on their 
tombs, especially honey and wine ; that the demons 
loved the smoke and odour of sacrifices, melody, the 
blood of victims, commerce with women ; that they 
were attached for a time to certain spots or to certain 
edifices, which they haunted, and where they appeared ; 
that '^souls separated from their terrestrial body, re- 
tained after death a subtile one, flexible, aerial, which 
preserved the form of that they once had animated 
during their life; that they haunted those who had 
done them wrong and whom they hated. Thus Virgil 
describes Dido, in a rage, threatening to haunt the 
perfidious ^neas.^ 

When the spirit of Patroclus appeared to Achilles,^ 
it had his voice, his shape, his eyes, his garments, but 
not his palpable body. When Ulysses went down to 
the infernal regions, he saw there the divine Hercules,^ 
that is to say, says Homer, his likeness ; for he himself 
is with the immortal gods, seated at their feast. -<3Eneas 

" " Sequar atris ignibus absens ; 

Et cum frigida mors animge subduxerit artus, 
Omnibus umbra lecis adero : dubis, improbe, poenas." 

'^ Homer, Iliad XXIIL r Ibid. Odyss. V. 


recognised his wife Creiisa, who appeared to him in her 
usual form, only taller and more majestic.^ 

We might cite a quantity of passages from the 
ancient poets, even from the fathers of the Church, 
who believed that spirits often appeared to the living. 
Tertullian^ believes that the soul is corporeal, and 
that it has a certain figure. He appeals to the ex- 
perience of those to whom the ghosts of dead persons 
have appeared, and who have seen them sensibly, 
corporeally, and palpably, although of an aerial colour 
and consistency. He defines the soul,^ a breath sent 
from God, immortal, and having body and form. 
Speaking of the fictions of the poets, who have 
asserted that souls were not at rest while their bodies 
remain uninterred, he says, all this is invented only 
to inspire the living with that care which they ought 
to take for the burial of the dead and to take away 
from the relations of the dead the sight of an object 
which would only uselessly augment their grief, if 
they kept it too long in their houses ; ut instantid 
funeris et honor corporum servetur et mcercr affectuum 
temper etur, 

St. Irenaeus *^ teaches, as a doctrine received from the 
Lord, that souls not only subsist after the death of the 
body, — without however passing from one body into 
another, as those will have it who admit the metempsy- 
chosis, — but that they retain the form and remain near 

« " Infelix simulacrum atque ipsius umbra Creiisae 

Yisa mill! ante oculos, et notu major imago." 

Virgil, ^neid I. 
» Tertull. de Anim. ^ Ibid. <^ Iren. lib. ii. c. 34. 


this body, as faithful guardians of it, and remember 
nought of what they have done or not done in this life. 
These fathers believed, then, in the return of souls, 
their apparition, and their attachment to their body ; 
but we do not adopt their opinion on the corporeality of 
souls; we are persuaded that they can appear with 
Grod's permission, independently of all matter and of 
any corporeal substance which may belong to them. 

As to the opinion, of the soul being in a state of 
unrest while its body is not interred, that it remains 
for some time near the tomb of the body, and appears 
there in a bodily form ; those are opinions which have 
no solid foundation, either in Scripture, or in the 
traditions of the Church, which teach us that directly 
after death the soul is presented before the judgment- 
seat of God, and is there destined to the place that its 
good or bad actions have deserved. 



The apparitions which are seen are those of good 
angels, or of demons, or the spirits of the dead, or of 
living persons to others still living. 

Good angels usually bring only good news, and 
announce nothing but what is fortunate ; or if they do 
announce any future misfortunes, it is to persuade men 
to prevent them, or turn them aside by repentance, or 
to profit by the evils which God sends them by exer- 
cising their patience, and showing submission to his 

Bad angels generally foretell only misfortune ; wars, 
the effect of the wrath of God on nations ; and often 
even they execute the evils, and direct the wars and 
public calamities which desolate kingdoms, provinces, 
cities and families. The spectres whose appearance to 
Brutus, Cassius, and Julian the Apostate we have re- 
lated, are only bearers of the fatal orders of the wrath 
of God. If they sometimes promise any prosperity to 
those to whom they appear, it is only for the present 
time, never for eternity, nor for the glory of God, nor 
for the eternal salvation of those to whom they speak. 
It only extends to a temporal fortune, always of short 
duration, and very often deceitful. 


The souls of the defunct, if these be Christians, ask 
very often that the sacrifice of the body and blood of 
Christ should be offered, according to the observation 
of St. Gregory the Great ;^ and, as experience shows, 
there is hardly any apparition of a Christian that does 
not ask for masses, pilgrimages, restitutions, or that 
alms should be distributed, or that they would satisfy 
those to whom the deceased died indebted. They also 
often give salutary advice, for the salvation or cor- 
rection of the morals, or good regulation of families. 
They reveal the state in which certain persons find 
themselves in the other world, in order to relieve their 
pain, or to put the living on their guard, that the like 
misfortune may not befall them. They talk of hell, 
paradise, purgatory, angels, demons, of the supreme 
Judge, of the rigour of his judgments, of the goodness 
he exercises towards the just, and the rewards with 
which he crowns their good works. 

But we must greatly mistrust those apparitions 
which ask for masses, pilgrimages and restitution. 
St. Paul warns us that the demon often transforms 
himself into an angel of light ;^ and St. John*' warns us 
to distrust the " depths of Satan," his illusions, and 
deceitful appearances. That spirit of malice and false- 
hood is found among the true prophets, to put into the 
mouth of the false prophets falsehood and error. He 
makes a wrong use of the text of the Scriptures, of the 
most sacred ceremonies, even of the sacraments and 
prayers of the church, to seduce the simple, and win 

^ Greg. Mag. lib. iv. Dialog, c. 55. ^ 2 Cor. xi. 14. 

^ Kev. xxi. 14. 


their confidence, to share as mucli as in liim lies the 
glory which is due to the Almighty alone, and to 
appropriate it to himself. How many false miracles 
has he not wrought ? How many times has he fore- 
told future events ? What cures has he not operated ? 
How many holy actions has he not counselled ? How 
many enterprises, praiseworthy in appearance, has he 
not inspired, in order to draw the faithful into his 
snare ? 

Bodin, in his Demonology,'^ cites more than one 
instance of demons who have requested prayers, and 
have even placed themselves in the posture of persons 
praying over a grave, to point out that the dead 
person wanted prayers. Sometimes it will be the 
demon in the shape of a wretch dead in crime, who 
will come and ask for masses, to show that his soul 
is in purgatory, and has need of prayers, although 
it may be certain that he finally died impenitent, and 
that prayers are useless for his salvation. All this is 
only a stratagem of the demon, who seeks to inspire 
the wicked with foolish and dangerous confidence in 
their being saved, notwithstanding their criminal life 
and their impenitence ; and that they can obtain salva- 
tion by means of a few prayers, and a few alms, which 
shall be made after their death; not regarding that 
these good works can be useful only to those who died 
in a state of grace, although stained by some venial 
fault, since the Scripture informs us ^ that nothing im- 
pure will enter the kingdom of heaven. 

It is believed that the reprobate can sometimes 
^ Bodin, Dsemon. torn. iii. c. 6. * Kev. xxi. 27. 


return to earth by permission, as persons dead in 
idolatry, and consequently in sin, and excluded from 
the kingdom of God, have been seen to come to life 
again, be converted, and receive baptism. St. Martin 
was as yet only the simple abbot of his monastery of 
Liguge,^ when, in his absence, a catechumen who had 
placed himself under his discipline to be instructed in 
the truths of the Christian religion, died without having 
been baptized. He had been three days deceased when 
the saint arrived. He sent everybody away, prayed 
over the dead man, resuscitated him, and administered 
to him the baptismal rite. 

This catechumen related that he had been led be- 
fore the tribunal of the Supreme Judge, who had 
condemned him to descend into the darkness with an 
infinity of other persons condemned like himself ; but 
that two angels having represented to the Judge that 
it was this man for whom St. Martin interceded, God 
commanded the two angels to bring him back to earth, 
and restore him to Martin. This is an instance which 
proves what I have just said, that the reprobate can 
return to life, do penance, and receive baptism. 

But as to what some have affirmed of the salvation 
of Falconila, procured by St. Thecla, of that of Trajan, 
saved by the prayers of St. Gregory, pope, and of some 
others who died heathens, this is all entirely contrary 
to the faith of the church and to the holy Scripture, 
which teach us that without faith it is impossible to 
please God, and that he who believes not and has not 
received baptism, is already judged and condemned. 
^ Sulpit. Sever. Vita St. Martin, c. 5. 


Thus, the opinions of those who accord salvation to 
Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, &c., because it may appear to 
them that they lived in a praiseworthy manner, accord- 
ing to the rules of a merely human and philosophical 
morality, must be considered as rash, erroneous, false, 
and dangerous. 

Philip, Chancellor of the Church of Paris, maintained 
that it was permitted to one man to hold a plurality of 
benefices. Being on his death bed, he was visited by 
William, Bishop of Paris, who died in 1248. This 
prelate urged the chancellor to give up all his benefices 
save one only ; he refused, saying that he wished to try 
if the holding a plurality of livings was so wrong as it 
was said to be ; and in this disposition of mind he died 
in 1237. 

Some days after his decease. Bishop WiUiam, or 
Guillaume, praying by night, after matins, in his ca- 
thedral, beheld before him the hideous and frightful 
figure of a man. He made the sign of the cross, and 
said to him, " If you are sent by God, speak." He 
spoke, and said : " I am that wretched chancellor, and 
have been condemned to eternal punishment." The 
bishop having asked him the cause, he replied, " I am 
condemned, first, for not having distributed the super- 
fluity of my benefices ; secondly, for having main- 
tained that it was allowable to hold several at once ; 
thirdly, for having remained for several days in the 
guilt of incontinence." 

This story was often preached by Bishop William 
to his clerks. It is related by the Bishop Albertus 
Magnus, who was a contemporary, in his book on the 


sacraments ; by William Durand, Bishop of Mande, in 
his book De Modo celehrandi Concilia ; and in Thomas de 
Cantimpre, in his work Des Aheilles. He believed, then, 
that God sometimes permitted the reprobate to appear 
to the living. 

Here is an instance of the apparition of a man and 
woman who were in a state of reprobation. The Prince 
of Ratzivil, » in his Journey to Jerusalem, relates that 
when in Egypt he bought two mummies, had them 
packed up, and secretly as possible conveyed on board 
his vessel, so that only himself and his two servants 
were aware of it ; the Turks making a great difficulty 
of allowing mummies to be carried away, because they 
fancy that the Christians make use of them for maglci.l 
operations. When they were at sea there arose at 
sundry times such a violent tempest that the pilot 
despaired of saving the vessel. A good Polish priest, 
of the suite of the Prince de Ratzivil, recited the 
prayers suitable to the circumstance ; but he was tor- 
mented, he said, by two hideous black spectres, a man 
and a woman, who were one on each side of him, and 
threatened to take away his life. It was thought at 
first that terror disturbed his mind. 

A calm coming on, he appeared tranquil ; but very 
soon, the storm beginning again, he was more tor- 
mented than before, and was only delivered from these 
haunting spectres when the two mummies, which he 
had not seen, were thrown into the sea, and neither 
himself nor the x^Hot knew of their being in the ship. 

^ Eatzivil, Peregrin. Jerosol. p. 218. 


I will not deny the fact, which is related by a prince 
incapable of desiring to impose on any one. But how 
many reflections may we make on this event ! Were 
they the souls of these two pagans, or two demons who 
assumed their form ? What interest could the demon 
have in not permitting these bodies to come under the 
power of the Christians ? 



We find in all history, both sacred and profane, ancient 
and modern, an infinite number of examples of the 
apparition of persons alive to other living persons. 
The prophet Ezekiel says of himself,^ '^_ I was seated in 
my house, in the midst of the elders of my people, when 
on a sudden a hand, which came from a figure shining 
like fire, seized me by the hair ; and the spirit trans- 
ported me between heaven and earth, and took me to 
Jerusalem, where he placed me near the inner gate, 
which looks towards the north, where I saw the idol of 
jealousy " (apparently Adonis), " and I there remarked 
the majesty of the Lord, as I had seen it in the field ; 
he showed me the idol of jealousy, to which the 
Israelites burned incense ; and the angel of the Lord 
said to me : Thou seest the abominations which the 
children of Israel commit, in turning away from my 
sanctuary ; thou shalt see still greater. 

" And having pierced the wall of the temple, I saw 
figures of reptiles and animals, the abominations and 
idols of the house of Israel, and seventy men of the 
elders of Israel, who were standing before these figures, 

^ Ezek. viii. 1, 2, &c. 
VOL. I. P 


each one bearing a censer in his hand ; after that tlie 
angel said to me, Thou shalt see yet something yet more 
abominable ; and he showed me women who were 
mourning for Adonis. Lastly, having introduced me 
into the inner court of the temple, I saw twenty men 
between the vestibule and the altar, who turned their 
back upon the temple of the Lord, and stood with their 
face to the east, and paid adoration to the rising 

Here we may remark two things ; first, that Ezekiel 
is transported from Chaldjea to Jerusalem through the 
air between heaven and earth by the hand of an angel ; 
which proves the possibility of transporting a living 
man through the air to a very great distance from the 
place where he was. 

The second is, the vision or apparition of those preva- 
ricators who commit even within the temple the greatest 
abominations, the most contrary to the majesty of God, 
the sanctity of the spot, and the law of the Lord. After 
all these thino;s the same ang-el bring-s back Ezekiel 
into Chaldsea ; but it was not until after God had showed 
him the vengeance he intended to exercise upon the 

It will, perhaps, be said, that all this passed only in 
a vision : that Ezekiel thought that he was transported 
to Jerusalem and afterwards brought back again to 
Babylon ; and that what he saw in the temple, he saw 
only by revelation. I reply, that the text of this prophet 
indicates a real removal, and that he was transported 
by the hair of his head between heaven and earth. He 
was brought back from Jerusalem in the same way. 


I do not deny that the thing might have passed in 
a vision, and that Ezekiel might have seen in spirit what 
was passing in the temple of Jerusalem. But I shall 
still deduce from it a consequence which is favourable 
to my design, that is, the possibility of a living man 
being carried through the air to a very great distance 
from the place he was in, or at least that a living man 
can imagine strongly that he is being carried from one 
place to another, although this transportation may be 
only imaginary and in a dream or vision, as they 
pretend it happens in the transportation of sorcerers to 
the witches' sabbath. 

In short, there are true appearances of the living, to 
others who are also alive. How is this done? The 
thing is not difficult to explain in following the recital 
of the prophet, who is transferred from Chaldtea into 
Judea in his own body by the ministration of angels ; 
but the apparitions related in St. Augustine and in other 
authors are not of the same kind : the two persons who 
see and converse with each other go not from their 
places; and the one who appears knows nothing of 
what is passing in regard to him to whom he appears, 
and to whom he explains several things of which he did 
not even think at that moment. 

In the third book of Kings, Obadiah, steward of 
king Ahab, having met the prophet Elijah, who had for 
some time kept himself concealed, tells him that king 
Ahab had him sought for everywhere, and that not 
having been able to discover him anywhere, had gone 
himself to seek him out. Elijah desires him to go and 
tell the king that Elijah had appeared ; but Obadiah 

p 2 


replied, " See to Avhat you expose me; for if I go riid 
announce to Ahab that I have spoken to you, the spirit 
of God will transport you into some unknown place, 
and the king, not finding you, will put me to death." 

There again is an instance which proves the possi- 
bility of the transportation of a living man to a very 
distant spot. The same prophet, being on Mount 
Carmel, was seized by the Spirit of God, which trans- 
ported him thence to Jezreel in very little time, not 
through the air, but by making him walk and run with 
a promptitude that was quite extraordinary. 

In the Gospel, Elias^^ appeared with Moses on Mount 
Tabor, at the transfiguration of the Saviour. Moses 
had long been dead; but the Church believes that 
Elijah (or Elias) is still living. In the Acts of the 
Apostles,^ Ananias appeared to St. Paul, and put his 
hands on him in a vision before he arrived at his house 
in Damascus. 

Two men of the court of the Emperor Valens, 
wishing to discover by the aid of magical secrets who 
would succeed that emperor,* caused a table of laurel- 
wood to be made into a tripod, on which thej'- placed 
a basin made of divers metals. On the border of this 
basin were engraved, at some distance from each other, 
the twenty-four letters of the Greek alphabet. A magi- 
cian with certain ceremonies approached the basin, and 
holding in his hand a ring suspended by a thread, 
suffered it at intervals to fall upon the letters of the 
alphabet whilst they were rapidly turning the table ; j 

^ Matt. xvii. 3. <= Acts ix. 10. 

^ Acts ix. 2. 


the ring falling on the dilFerent letters formed obscure 
and enigmatical verses like those pronounced by the 
oracle of Delphi. 

At last they asked what was the name of him who 
should succeed to the Emperor Yalens? The ring- 
touched the four letters ©EOA. which they interpreted 
of Theodosius, the second secretary of the Emperor 
Valens. Theodosius was arrested, interrogated, con- 
victed, and put to death ; and with him all the culprits 
or accomplices in this operation ; search was made for 
all the books of magic, and a great number were burnt. 
The great Theodosius, of whom they thought not at all, 
and who was at a great distance from the Court, was 
the person designated by these letters. In 379, he was 
declared Augustus by the Emperor Gratian, and in 
coming to Constantinople in 380, he had a dream, in 
which it seemed to him that Melitus, Bishop of Antioch, 
whom he had never seen, and knew only by reputation, 
invested him with the imperial mantle and placed the 
diadem on his head. 

They were then assembling the Eastern bishops to 
hold the Council of Constantinople. Theodosius begged 
that Melitus might not be pointed out to him, saying 
that he should recognise him by the signs he had seen in 
his dream. In fact he distinguished him amono-st all the 


other bishops, embraced him, kissed his hands, and 
looked upon him ever after as his father. This was 
a distinct apparition of a living man.^ 

St. Augustine relates,^ that a certain man saw, in the 

^ Ammian. Marcell. lib. xix. Sozonieii. lib. vL c. 35. 
^ Aug. lib. viii. de Civit. c. 18. 


night, before he slept, a philosopher who was known to 
him, enter his house, and who explained to him some of 
Plato's opinions which he would not explain to him 
before. This apparition of the Platonician was merely 
fantastic ; for the person to whom he had appeared 
having asked him why he would not explain to him at 
his house what he had come to explain to him when at 
home, the philosopher replied, " I did not do so, but 
I dreamt I did so." Here, then, are two persons both 
alive, one of whom, in his sleep and dreaming, speaks 
to another who is wide awake, and sees him only in 

The same St. Augustine^ acknowledges in the pre- 
sence of his people that he has appeared to two persons 
who had never seen him, and knew him only by repu- 
tation, and that he advised them to come to Hippo, 
to be there cured by the merit of the martyr St. 
Stephen : — they came there, and recovered their health. 

Evodius teaching rhetoric at Carthage,^ and finding 
himself puzzled concerning the sense of a passage in 
the books of the Rhetoric of Cicero, which he was to 
explain the next day to his scholars, was much disquieted 
when he went to bed, and could hardly get to sleep. 
During his sleep he fancied he saw St. Augustine, who 
was then at Milan, a great way from Carthage, who 
was not thinking of him at all, and was apparently 
sleeping very quietly in his bed at Milan, who came to 
him and explained the passage in question. St. Augus- 
tine avows that he does not know how it happens ; but 


Aug. Serin, cxxiii. pp. 1277, 1278. 

Aug. de cura, gercndfl pro Mortuis, c. 11,12. 


in whatever way it may occur, it is very possible for us 
to see in a dream a dead person as we see a living one, 
without either one or the other knowing how, when, 
or where, these images are formed in our mind. It is 
also possible that a dead man may appear to the living 
without being aware of it, and discover to them secret 
and hidden things, the result of which reveals their 
truth and reality. When a living man appears in 
a dream to another man, we do not say that his 
body or his spirit have appeared, but simply that su ch 
a one has appeared to him. Why can we not say that 
the dead appear without body and without soul, but 
simply that their form presents itself to the mind and 
imagination of the living person ? 

St. Augustine, in the book which he has composed 
on the care which we ought to take of the dead,^ says, 
that a holy monk, named John, appeared to a pious 
woman, who ardently desired to see him. The saintly 
doctor reasons a great deal on this apparition ; — 
whether this solitary foresaw what would happen to 
him ; if he went in spirit to this woman; if it is his angel 
or his spirit in his bodily form which appeared to her in 
her sleep, as we behold in our dreams absent persons 
who are known to us. We should be able to speak to 
the monk himself, to know from himself how that 
occurred, if by the power of God, or by his permission ; 
for there is little appearance that he did it by any 
natural powder. 

It is said that St. Simeon Stylites ^ appeared to his 

' Aug. de cura, gerend. pro Mort. c. xxvii. p. 529. 
•^ Yita Daniel Stjlit. xi, Decemb. 


disciple St. Daniel, who had undertaken the journey to 
Jerusalem, where he would have to suffer much for 
Jesus Christ's sake. St. Benedict^ had promised to 
comply with the request of some architects, who had 
bec!:2:ed him to come and show them how he wished 
them to build a certain monastery; the saint did not 
go to them bodily, but he went thither in spirit, and 
gave them the plan and design of the house which they 
were to construct. These men did not comprehend 
that it was what he had promised them, and came to 
him a2;ain to ask what were his intentions relative 
to this edifice : he said to them, " I have explained it 
to you in a dream ; you can follow the plan which you 
have seen." 

The Caesar Bardas, who had so mightily contributed 
to the deposition of St. Ignatius, patriarch of Constan- 
tinople, had a vision, which he thus related to Philothes 
his friend. " I thousiht I was that nlg-ht ofolns; in pro- 

O O O !D 1. 

cession to the high church with the Emperor Michael. 
When we had entered and were near the ambe, there 
appeared two eunuchs of the chamber, w^Ith a cruel 
and ferocious mien, one of whom, having bound the 
emperor, dragged him out of the choir on the right 
side ; the other dragged me In the same manner to the 
left. Then I saw on a sudden an old man seated on 
the throne of the sanctuary. He resembled the image of 
St. Peter, and two terrific men were standing near 
him, who looked like provosts. I beheld, at the knees 
of St. Peter, St. Ignatius weeping, and crying aloud, — 
* You have the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; if you 
^ Gresror. lib. ii. Dialoir. c. xxii. 


knovv^ the injustice which has been done me, console my 
afflicted old ao-e/ 

" St. Peter replied, ' Point out the man who has used 
you ill.' Ignatius, turning round, pointed to me, saying, 
' That is he who has done me most wrong.' St. Peter 
made a sign to the one at his right, and placing in his 
hand a short sword, he said to him aloud, ' Take Bardas, 
the enemy of God, and cut him in pieces before the 
vestibule.' As they were leading me to death, I saw 
that he said to the emperor, holding up his hand in a 
threatening manner, 'Wait, unnatural son ! ' after which 
I saw them cut me absolutely in pieces." 

This took place in 866. The year following, in the 
month of April, the emperor having set out to attack 
the Isle of Crete, was made so suspicious of Bardas, 
that he resolved to get rid of him. He accompanied 
the Emperor Michael in this expedition. Bardas, seeing 
the murderers enter the emperor's tent, sword in hand, 
threw himself at his feet to ask his pardon ; but they 
dragged him out, cut him in pieces, and in derision 
carried some of his members about at the end of a pike. 
This happened the 29th of April, 867. 

Roger, Count of Calabria and Sicily, besieging the 
town of Capua, one named Sergius, a Greek by birth, 
to whom he had given the command of 200 men, 
having suffered himself to be bribed, formed the design 
of betraying him, and of delivering the army of the 
count to the Prince of Capua, during the night. It 
was on the 1st of March that he was to execute his 
intention. St. Bruno, Avho then dwelt in the Desert 
of Squilantia, appeared to Count Boger, and told him 



to fly to arms promptly, if he would not be oppressed 
by Ills enemies. The count starts from his sleep, com- 
mands his people to mount their horses and see what is 
going on in the camp. They met the men belonging 
to Sergius, with the Prince of Capua, who having 
perceived them retired promptly into the town ; those 
of Count Roger took 162 of them, from whom they 
learned all the secret of the treason. Roger went, on 
the 29th of July following, to Squilantia, and having 
related to Bruno what had happened to him, the saint 
said to him, "It was not I who warned you, it was 
the angel of God, who is near princes in time of war." 
Thus Count Roger relates the affair himself, in a 
privilege granted to St. Bruno. 

A monk ™ named Fidus, a disciple of St. Euthymius, 
a celebrated abbot in Palestine, having been sent by 
Martyrius, the patriarch of Jerusalem, on an important 
mission concerning the affairs of the Church, embarked 
at Joppa, and was shipwrecked the following night; 
he supported himself above water for some time by 
clinging to a piece of wood, which he found by chance. 
Then he invoked the help of St. Euthymius, who 
appeared to him walking on the sea, and who said to 
him, " Know that this voyage is not pleasing to God, 
and will be of no utility to the mother of the Churches, 
that is to say, to Jerusalem. Return to him who sent 
you, and tell him from me not to be uneasy at the 
separation of the schismatics — union will take place 
ere long ; for you, you must go to my laurel grove, and 
you must build there a monastery." 

"' Vita Sancti Euthym. pp. 86, 87. 


Having said this, lie enveloped Fidus in his mantle, 
and Fidus found himself immediately at Jerusalem, 
and in his house, without knowing how he came there ; 
he related it all to the Patriarch Martyrius, who 
remembered the prediction of St. Euthymius, concern- 
ing the building in the laurel grove a monastery. 

Queen Margaret, in her memoirs, asserts that God 
protects the great in a particular manner, and that he 
lets them know, either in dreams or otherwise, what is 
to happen to them. " As Queen Catherine de Medicis, 
my mother," says she, "who the night before that 
unhappy day dreamt she saw the king, Henry II., 
my father, wounded in the eye, as it really happened ; 
when she awoke she several times implored the king 
not to tilt that day. 

" The same queen being dangerously ill at Metz, and 
having around her bed the king, (Charles IX.,) my 
sister and brother of Lorraine, and many ladies and 
princesses, she cried out as if she had seen the battle of 
Jarnac fought : ' See how they fly ! my son has the 
victory ! Do you see the Prince of Conde dead in that 
hedge ? ' All those who were present fancied she was 
dreaming ; but the night after, M. de Losse brought 
her the news. * I knew it well,' said she ; * did I not 
behold it the day before yesterday ? ' " 

The Duchess Philippa of Gueldres, wife of the Duke 
of Lorraine, Kene II., being a nun at St. Claire du 
Pont-a-Mousson, saw, during her orisons, the unfor- 
tunate battle of Pavia. She cried out suddenly, " Ah ! 
my sisters, my dear sisters, for the love of God, 
say your prayers; my son De Lambesc is dead, and 


the king (Francis I.) my cousin is made prisoner." 
Some clays after, news of this famous event, which 
happened the day on w^hich the duchess had seen 
it, was received at Nancy. Certainly, neither the 
young Prince de Lambesc, nor the king, Francis I., 
had any knowledge of this revelation, and they took no 
part in it; It was, then, neither their spirit nor their 
phantoms which appeared to the princess : it was 
apparently their angel, or God himself, who by his 
power struck her imagination, and represented to her 
what was passing at that moment. 

Mezeray affirms, that he had often heard people of 
quality relate, that the duke Charles the Illd. of Lor- 
raine, who was at Paris when King Henry II. was 
wounded with the splinter of a lance, of which he died, 
told the circumstance often, of a lady who lodged in 
his hotel, having seen in a dream, very distinctly, that 
the king had been struck and brought to the ground 
by a blow from a lance. 

To these instances of the apparition of living persons 
to other living persons in their sleep, we may add an 
infinite number of other instances of apparitions of 
angels and holy personages, or even of dead persons, 
to the living when asleep, to give them instructions, 
warn them of dangers which menace them, inspire 
them with salutary counsel relative to their salvation, 
or to give them aid ; thick volumes might be composed 
on such matters. I shall content myself with relating 
here some examples of those apparitions drawn from 
profane authors. 

Xerxes, king of Persia, when deliberating in council 


whether he should carry the war Into Greece, was 
strongly dissuaded from it by Artabanes, his paternal 
uncle. Xerxes took offence at this liberty, and uttered 
some very disobliging words to him. The following 
night he reflected seriously on the arguments of Arta- 
banes, and changed his resolution. When he was asleep, 
he saw in a dream a man of extraordinary size and 
beauty, who said to him, " You have then renounced 
your intention of making war on the Greeks, although 
you have already given orders to the Persian chiefs to 
assemble your army. You have not done well to change 
your resolve, even should no one be of your opinion. 
Go forward ; believe me : follow your first design." 
Having said this, the vision disappeared. The next day 
he again assembled his council, and, without speaking 
of his dream, he testified his regret for what he said in 
his rage the preceding day to his uncle Artabanes, and 
declared that he had renounced his design of making 
war upon the Greeks. Those who composed the coun- 
cil, transported with joy, prostrated themselves before 
him, and congratulated him upon It. 

The following night he had a second time the same 
vision, and the same phantom said to him, " Son 
of Darius, thou hast then abandoned thy design of 
declaring Avar against the Greeks, regardless of what I 
said to thee. Know that If thou dost not Instantly 
undertake this expedition, thou v/ilt soon be reduced to 
a situation as low as that In which thou now findest 
thyself is elevated." The king directly rose from his 
bed, and sent in all haste for Artabanes, to whom he 
related the two dreams which he had had two nights 


consecutively. He added, " I pray you to put on my 
royal ornaments, sit down on my throne, and then lie 
down in my bed. If the phantom w^hich appeared to 
me appears to you also, I shall believe that the thing is 
ordained by the decrees of the gods, and I shall yield 
to their commands." 

Artabanes would in vain have excused himself from 
putting on the royal ornaments, sitting on the king's 
throne, and lying down in his bed, alleging that all 
those thino-s would be useless if the o:ods had resolved 
to let him know their will ; that it would even be more 
likely to exasperate the gods, as if he desired to deceive 
them by external appearances. As for the rest, dreams 
in themselves deserve no attention, and usually they are 
only the consequences and representations of what is 
most strongly in the mind when awake. 

Xerxes did not yield to his arguments, and Arta- 
banes did what the king desired, persuaded that if the 
same thing should occur more than once, it would be 
a proof of the will of the gods, of the reality of the 
vision, and the truth of the dream. He then laid down 
in the king's bed, and the same phantom appeared to 
him, and said, " It is you, then, who prevent Xerxes 
from executing his resolve, and accomplishing what is 
decreed by fate. I have already declared to the king 
what he has to fear if he disobeys my orders." At the 
same time it appeared to Artabanes that the spectre 
would burn his eyes with a red-hot iron. He directly 
sprang from the couch, and related to Xerxes what had 
appeared to him and what had been said to him, adding, 
" I now absolutely change my opinion, since it pleases 


the gods that we should make war, and that the Greeks 
be threatened with great misfortunes ; give your orders 
and dispose every thing for this war : " — which was 
executed immediately. 

The terrible consequences of this war, which was so 
fatal to Persia, and at last caused the overthrow of that 
famous monarchy, leads us to judge that this apparition, 
if a true one, was announced by an evil spirit, hostile 
to that monarchy, sent by God to dispose things for 
events predicted by the prophets, and the succession of 
great empires predestined by the decrees of the Al 

Cicero remarks that two Arcadians, who were travel- 
ling together, arrived at Megara, a city of Greece, 
situated between Athens and Corinth. One of them, 
who could claim hospitality in the town, was lodged at 
a friend's, and the other at an inn. After supper, he 
who was at a friend's house retired to rest. In his sleep 
it seemed to him that the man whom he had left at the 
inn appeared to him, and implored his help, because the 
innkeeper wanted to kill him. He arose directly, much 
alarmed at this dream, but having reassured himself, 
and fallen asleep again, the other again appeared to 
him, and told him that since he had not had the kind- 
ness to aid him, at least he must not leave his death 
unpunished ; that the innkeeper, after having killed 
him, had hidden his body in a wagon, and covered it 
over with dung, and that he must not fail to be the 
next morning at the opening of the city gate, before 
the wagon went forth. Struck with this new dream, 
he went early in the morning to the city gate, saw the 


wagon, and asked the driver what he had got under 
the manure. The carter took flight directly, the body 
was extricated from the wagon, and the innkeeper 
arrested and punished. 

Cicero relates also some other instances of similar 
apparitions which occurred In sleep ; one is of So- 
phocles, the other of Simonides. The former saw 
Hercules in a dream, who told him the name of a 
robber vv^ho had taken a golden patera from his temple. 
Sophocles neglected this notice, as an effect of disturbed 
sleep; but Hercules appeared to him a second time, 
and repeated to him the same thing, which induced 
Sophocles to denounce the robber, who was convicted 
by the Areopagus, and from that time the temple was 
dedicated to Hercules the Revealer. 

The dream or apparition of Simonides was more use- 
ful to himself personally. He was on the point of 
embarking, when he found on the shore the corpse of 
an unknown person, as yet without sepulture. Simo- 
nides had him interred, from humanity. The next 
night the dead man appeared to Simonides, and, 
through gratitude, counselled him not to embark in 
the vessel then riding in the harbour, because he would 
be shipwrecked if he did. Simonides believed him, 
and a few days after, he heard of the wreck of the 
vessel in which he was to have embarked. 

John Pico de la Mirandola assures us in his treatise, 
De Auto, that a man, who was not rich, finding him- 
self reduced to the last extremity, and without any 
resources either to pay his debts or procure nourish- 
ment for a numerous ftimily ' in a time of scarcity. 


overcome with grief and uneasiness, fell asleep. At 
the same time one of the blessed appeared to him in a 
dream, taught him by some enigmatical words the 
means of making gold, and pointed out to him at the 
same moment the water he must make use of to suc- 
ceed in it. On his awaking, he took some of that 
w^ater, and made gold of it, in small quantity, indeed, 
but enough to maintain his family. He made some 
twice with iron and three times with orpiment. " He 
has convinced me by my own eyes," says Pico de la 
Mirandola, " that the means of making gold artificially 
is not a falsehood, but a true art." 

Here is another sort of apparition of one living man 
to another, which is so much the more singular, because 
it proves at once the might of spells, and that a magi- 
cian can render himself invisible to several persons, 
while he discovers himself to one man alone. The fact 
is taken from the Treatise on Superstitions, of the 
reverend father Le Brun,° and is characterised by all 
which can render it incontestible. On Friday, the first 
day of May, 1705, about five o'clock in the evening, 
Denis Misanger de la Richardiere, eighteen years of 
age, was attacked with an extraordinary malady, which 
began by a sort of lethargy. They gave him every 
assistance that medicine and surgery could aflPord. He 
fell afterwards into a kind of furor or convulsion, and 
they v/ere obliged to hold him, and have five or six 
persons to keep watch over him, for fear that he should 
throw himself out of the windows, or break his head 
against the wall. The emetic which they gave him 
^ Le Brun, Traite des Superstit. torn. i. pp. 281, 2S2, et seq. 


made him throw up a quantity of bile^ and for four or 
five days he remained pretty quiet. 

At the end of the month of May, they sent him into 
the country, to take the air ; and some other circum- 
stances occurred, so unusual, that they judged he must 
be bewitched. And what confirmed this conjecture 
was, that he never had any fever, and retained all his 
strength, notwithstanding all the pains and violent 
remedies which he had been made to take. They asked 
him if he had not had some dispute with a shepherd, 
or some other person suspected of sorcery or mal- 

He declared that on the 18th of April preceding, 
when he was going through the village of Noysi on 
horseback for a ride, his horse stopped short in the 
midst of the Rue Feret^ opposite the chapel, and he 
could not make him go forward, though he touched 
him several times with the spur. There was a shep- 
herd standing leaning against the chapel, with his crook 
in his hand, and two black dogs at his side. This man 
said to him, " Sir, I advise you to return home, for 
your horse will not go forward." The young La Rich- 
ardiere, continuing to spur his horse, said to the shep- 
herd, "I do not understand what you say." The 
shepherd replied, in a low tone, " I will make you 
understand." In effect, the young man was obliged to 
get down from his horse, and lead it back by the bridle 
to his father's dwelling in the same village. Then the 
shepherd cast a spell upon him, which was to take 
effect on the 1st of May, as was afterwards known. 

During this malady, they caused several masses to 


be said in clifFerent places, especially at St. Maur des 
Fosses, at St. Amable, and at St. Esprit. Young La 
Richardiere was present at some of these masses which 
were said at St. Maur ; but he declared that he should 
not be cured till Friday, the 26th of June, on his 
return from St. ^laur. On entering his chamber, the 
key of which he had in his pocket, he found there that 
shepherd, seated in his arm-chair, with his crook, and 
his two black dogs. He was the only person who saw 
him ; none other in the house could perceive him. He 
said even that this man was called Damis, although he 
did not remember that any one had before this revealed 
liis name to him. He beheld him all that day, and all 
tlie succeedinfT nio;ht. Towards six o'clock in the even- 
ing, as he felt his usual suiFerings, he fell on the 
ground, exclaiming that the shepherd was upon him, 
and crushino; him ; at the same time he drew his knife, 
and aimed five blows at the shepherd's face, of which 
he retained the marks. The invalid told those who 
were Avatching over him that he was going to be very 
faint at five different times, and begged of them to help 
him, and move him violently. The thing happened as 
he had predicted. 

On Friday, the 26th of June, M. de la Richardiere, 
havins: o;one to the mass at St. Maur, asserted that he 
should be cured on that day. After mass, the priest 
put the stole upon his head, and recited the Gospel of 
St. John, during which prayer the young man saw 
St. Maur standing, and the unhappy shepherd at his 
left, with his face bleeding from the five knife-wounds 
which he had given him. At that moment the youth 

333 THE phanto:m "^orld. 

cried out, unintentionally, " A miracle ! a miracle ! " 
and asserted that he was cured, as in fact he was. 

On the 29th of June, the same M. de la Richardiere 
returned to Noysi, and amused himself with shooting. 
As he was shooting in the vineyards, the shepherd pre- 
sented himself before him ; he hit him on the head 
with the butt-end of his gun. The shepherd cried out, 
" Sir, you are killing me ! " and fled. The next day 
this man presented himself again before him, and asked 
his pardon, saying, " I am called Damis ; it was I who 
cast a spell over you which was to have lasted a year. 
By the aid of masses and prayers which have been said 
for you, you have been cured at the end of eight VN^eeks. 
But the charm has Mien back upon myself, and I can 
be cured of it only by a miracle. I implore you then 
to pray for me." 

During all these reports, the marQ cliausce had set 
off in pursuit of the shepherd ; but he escaped 
them, having killed his two dogs and thrown away his 
crook. On Sunday, the 13th of September, he came 
to M. de la Richardiere, and related to him his adven- 
ture ; that after having passed twenty years without 
approaching the sacraments, God had given him grace 
to confess himself at Troyes ; and that after divers 
delays he had been admitted to the holy communion. 
Eight days after, M. de la Richardiere received a letter 
from a woman who said she was a relation of the shep- 
herd's, informing him of his death, and begging him to 
cause a requiem mass to be said for him, which was 

How many difficulties may we make about this 


story ! How could this wretched shepherd cast the 
spell without touching the person? How could he 
introduce himself into young M. de la Richardiere's 
chamber without either opening or forcing the door ? 
How could he render himself visible to him alone, 
whilst none other beheld him ? Can one doubt of his 
corporeal presence, since he received five cuts from a 
knife in his face, of which he afterwards bore the 
marks, when, by the merit of the holy mass and the 
intercession of the saints, the spell was taken off? How 
could St. Maur appear to him in his Benedictine habit, 
having the wizard on his left hand ? If the circum- 
stance is certain, as it appears, who shall explain the 
manner in which all passed or took place ? 



After having spoken at some length upon appari- 
tions, and after having established the truth of them, 
as far as it has been possible for us to do so, from the 
authority of the Scripture, from examples, and by 
arguments, we must now exercise our judgment on the 
causes, means, and reasons for these apparitions, and 
reply to the objections which may be made to destroy 
the reality of them, or at least to raise doubts on the 

We have supposed that a2:)paritions were the work 
of angels, demons, or souls of the defunct ; we do not 
talk of the appearance of God himself; his will, his 
operations, his power, are above our reach ; we acknow- 
ledo-e that he can do all that he wills to do, that his 
will is all-powerful, and that he places himself, when 
he chooses, above the laws which he has made. As to 
the apparitions of the living, to others, also living, 
they are of a different nature from what we propose 
to examine in this place ; we shall not fail to speak of 
them hereafter. 

Whatever system we may follow on the nature of 
angels, or demons, or souls separated from the body ; 


whether we consider them as purely spiritual sub- 
stances, as the Christian Church at this day holds; 
whether we give them an aerial body, subtile, and 
invisible, as many have taught ; it appears almost as 
difficult to render palpable, perceptible, and thick, 
a subtile and aerial body, as it is to condense the air, 
and make it seem like a solid and perceptible body ; 
as, when the angels appeared to Abraham and Lot, the 
angel Raphael to Tobias, whom he conducted into 
Mesopotamia ; or when the demon appeared to Jesus 
Christ, and led him to a high mountain, and on the 
pinnacle of the Temple at Jerusalem ; or when Moses 
appeared with Elias on Mount Tabor : for those appa- 
ritions are certain from Scripture. 

If you will say that these apparitions were seen only 
in the imagination and mind of those who saw^, or 
believed they saw, angels, demons, or souls separated 
from the body, as it happens every day in our sleep, 
and sometimes when aAvake, if we are strongly occupied 
with certain objects, or struck with certain things 
which Ave desire ardently, or fear exceedingly, — as w^hen 
Ajax, thinking he saw Ulysses and Agamemnon, or 
Menelalis, threw himself upon some animals, which he 
killed, thinking he was killing those two men his 
enemies, and w4iom he was dying with the desire to 
wreak his vengeance upon, — on this supposition, the 
apparition will not be less difficult to explain. There 
was neither prepossession nor disturbed imagination, 
nor any preceding emotion, which led Abraham to 
figure to himself that he saw three persons, to whom 
he gave hospitality, to whom he spoke, who promised 


liim the birth of a son, of which he was scarcely 
thinking at that time. The three Apostles who saw 
Moses conversing with Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor, 
were not prepared for that appearance ; there was 
no emotion of fear, love, revenge, ambition, or any 
other passion which struck their imagination, to dispose 
them to see Moses ; as neither was there in Abraham, 
when he perceived the three angels who appeared to 

Often in our sleep we see, or we believe we see, 
what has struck our attention very much when awake ; 
sometimes we represent to ourselves in sleep things of 
which we have never thought, which even are repug- 
nant to us, and which present themselves to our mind 
in spite of ourselves. None bethink themselves of 
seeking the causes of these kinds of representations ; 
they are attributed to chance, or to some disposition 
of the humours of the blood or of the brain, or even of 
the way in which the body is placed in bed ; but 
nothing like that is applicable to the apparitions of 
angels, demons, or spirits, wdien these apparitions are 
accompanied and followed by converse, predictions, 
and real effects preceded and predicted by those which 

If we have recourse to a pretended fascination of the 
eyes or the other senses, which sometimes make us 
believe that we see and hear what we do not, or that 
we neither see nor hear what is passing before our 
eyes, or which strikes our ears ; as when the soldiers 
sent to arrest Elisha spoke to him and saw him before 
they recognised him, or when the inhabitants of Sodom 


could not discover Lot's door, although it was before 
their eyes, or when the disciples of Emmaus knew not 
that it was Jesus Christ who accompanied them and 
expounded the Scriptures ; they opened their eyes and 
knew him only hy the breaking of bread. 

That fascination of the senses which makes us believe 
that we see what we do not see, or that suspension of 
the exercise and natural functions of our senses which 
prevents us from seeing and recognising what is passing 
before our eyes, is all of it hardly less miraculous than 
to condense the air, or rarefy it, or give solidity and 
consistence to what is purely spiritual and disengaged 
from matter. 

From all this it follows that no apparition can take 
place without a sort of miracle, and without a concur- 
rence, both extraordinary and supernatural, of the 
power of God who commands, or causes, or permits an 
angel, or a demon, or a disembodied soul, to appear, 
act, speak, walk, and perform other functions which 
belong only to an organised body. 

I shall be told that it is useless to recur to the 
miraculous and the supernatural, if we have acknow- 
ledged in spiritual substances a natural power of show- 
ing themselves, whether by condensing the air, or by 
producing a massive and palpable body, or in raising 
up some dead body, to which these spirits give life and 
motion for a certain time. 

I own it all ; but I dare maintain that that is not 
possible either to angel or demon, nor to any spiritual 
substance whatsoever. The soul can produce in herself 
thoughts, will, and wishes ; she can give her impulsion 

VOL. I. Q 


to the movements of her body, and repress its sallies 
and agitations ; but how does she do that ? Philosophy 
can hardly explain it, but by saying that by virtue of 
the union between herself and the body, God, by an 
effect of his wisdom, has given her power to act upon 
the humours, its organs, and impress them with certain 
movements ; but there is reason to believe that the soul 
performs all that only as an occasional cause, and that 
it is God as the first, necessary, immediate and essen- 
tial cause, which produces all the movements of the 
body that are made in a natural way. 

Neither angel nor demon has more privilege in this 
respect over matter than the soul of man has over its 
own body. They can neither modify matter, change 
it, nor impress it with action and motion, save by the 
power of God, and with his concurrence both necessary 
and immediate : our knowledge does not permit us to 
judge otherwise; there is no physical proportion be- 
tween the spirit and the body ; those two substances 
cannot act mutually and immediately one upon the 
other; they can act only occasionally, by determining 
the first cause, in virtue of the laws which wisdom has 
judged it proper to prescribe to herself for the reci- 
procal action of the creatures upon each other, to give 
them being, to preserve it, and perpetuate movement 
in the mass of matter which composes the universe, 
in himself giving life to spiritual substances, and per- 
mitting them with his concurrence, as the First Cause, 
to act, the body on the soul, and the soul on the body, 
one on the other, as secondary causes. 

Porphyry, when consulted by Anebo, an Egyptian 


priest, if those who foretel the future and perform 
prodigies have more powerful souls, or whether they 
receive power from some strange spirit, replies, that 
according to appearance all those things are done by 
means of certain evil spirits that are naturally knavish, 
and take all sorts of shapes, and do every thing that 
one sees happen, whether good or evil ; but that in the 
end they never lead men to what is truly good. 

St. Augustine,^ who cites this passage of Porphyry, 
lays much stress on his testimony, and says that every 
extraordinary thing which is done by certain tones of 
the voice, by figures or phantoms, is usually the work 
of the demon, who sports with the credulity and blind- 
ness of men ; that everything marvellous which is 
transacted in nature, and has no relation to the worship 
of the true God, ought to pass for an illusion of the 
devil. The most ancient Fathers of the Church, Minu- 
tius Felix, Arnobius, St. Cyprian, attribute equally all 
these kinds of extraordinary effects to the evil spirit. 

Tertullian ^ had no doubt that the apparitions which 
are produced by magic, and by the evocation of souls, 
which, forced by enchantments, come out, say they, 
from the depth of hell (or Hades), are but pure illusions 
of the demon, who causes to appear to those present 
a fantastical form, which fascinates the eyes of those 
who think they see what they see not ; " which is not 
more difficult for the demon," says he, " than to seduce 
and blind the souls which he leads into sin. Pharaoh 
thought he saw real serpents produced by his magicians: 

* Aug, de Civit. Dei, lib. x. c. 11, 12. 
^ Tertull. de Anima, c. 57. 



it Avas mere illusion. The truth of Moses devoured 
the falsehood of these impostors." 

Is it more easy to cause the fascination of the eyes 
of Pharaoh and his servants than to produce serpents, 
and can it be done without God's concurring thereto ? 
And how can we reconcile this concurrence with the 
wisdom, independence, and truth of God? Has the 
devil in this respect a greater power than an angel and 
a disembodied soul? And if once we open the door 
to this fascination, everything which appears super- 
natural and miraculous will become uncertain and 
doubtful. It will be said that the wonders related in 
the Old and New Testament are in this respect, in 
regard both to those who were witnesses of them, and 
those to whom they happened, only illusions and fascj- 
nations: and whither may not these premises lead? 
It leads us to doubt everything, to deny everything ; 
to believe that God, in concert with the devil, leads 
us into error, and fascinates our eyes and other senses, 
to make us believe that we see, hear, and know, what 
is neither present to our eyes, nor known to our mind, 
nor supported by our reasoning powers, since by that 
the principles of reasoning are overthrown. 

We must, then, have recourse to the solid and un- 
shaken principles of religion, which teach us — 

1. That angels, demons, and souls disembodied, are 
pure spirit, free from all matter. 

2. That it is only by the order or permission of God 
that spiritual substances can appear to men, and seem 
to them to be true and tangible bodies, in which and 
by which they perform what they are seen to do. 


3. That to make these bodies appear, and make them 
act, speak, walk, eat, &c., they must produce tangible 
bodies, either by condensing the air, or substituting 
other terrestrial, solid bodies, capable of performing the 
functions we speak of. 

4. That the way in which this production and appa- 
rition of a perceptible body is achieved, is absolutely 
unknown to us ; that we have no proof that spiritual 
substances have a natural power of producing this kind 
of change when it pleases them, and that they cannot 
produce them independently of God. 

5. That although there may be often a great deal of 
illusion, prepossession, and imagination in what is 
related of the operations and apparitions of angels, 
demons, and disembodied souls, there is still some 
reality in many of these things, and we cannot reason- 
ably doubt of them all, and still less deny them all. 

6. That there are apparitions which bear about them 
the character and proof of truth, from the quality of 
him who relates them; from the circumstances which 
accompany them; from the events following those 
apparitions that announce things to come ; which per- 
form things impossible to the natural strength of man, 
and too much in opposition to the interest of the 
demon, and his malicious and deceitful character, for 
us to be able to suspect him to be the author or con- 
triver of them. In short, these apparitions are certified 
by the belief, the prayers, and the practice of the 
Church, which recognises them, and supposes their 

7. That although what appears miraculous is not so 


always, we must at least usually perceive in it some 
illusion and operation of the demon ; consequently, that 
the demon can, with the permission of God, do many 
things which surpass our knowledge, and the natural 
power which we suppose him to have. 

8. That those who wish to explain them by fascina- 
tion of the eyes and other senses, do not resolve the 
difficulty, and throw themselves into still greater em- 
barrassment than those who admit simply that appa- 
ritions appear by the order or the permission of God. 



The greatest objection that can be raised against the 
apparitions of angels, demons, and disembodied souls, 
takes its rise in the nature of these substances, which, 
being purely spiritual, cannot appear with evident, 
solid, and palpable bodies, nor perform those functions 
which belong only to matter, and living or animated 

For, either spiritual substances are united to the 
bodies which appear, or not. If they are not united 
to them, how can they move them, and cause them to 
act, walk, speak, reason, and eat ? If they are united 
to them, then they form but one individual ; and how 
can they separate themselves from them, after being 
united to them ? Do they take them and leave them 
at will, as we lay aside a habit or a mask? That 
would be to suppose that they are at liberty to appear 
or disappear, which is not the case, since all apparitions 
are solely by the order or permission of God. Are 
those bodies which appear, only instruments which the 
angels, demons, or souls, make use of to affright, warn, 
chastise, or instruct the person or persons to whom 


tliey appear ? This is, in fact, the most rational thing 
that can be said concerning these apparitions ; the 
exorcisms of the Church fall directly on the agent and 
cause of these apparitions, and not on the phantom 
which appears, nor on the first author, which is God, 
who orders and permits it. 

Another objection, both very common and very strik- 
ing, is that which is drawn from the multitude of false 
stories and ridiculous reports which are spread amongst 
the people, of the apparitions of spirits, demons, and 
elves, of possessions and obsessions. 

It must be owned that, out of a hundred of these 
pretended appearances, hardly two will be found to be 
true. The ancients are not more to be credited on 
that point than the moderns, since they were, at least, 
equally credulous as people are in our own age, or 
rather they were more credulous than we are at this 

I grant, that the foolish credulity of the people, and 
the love of every thing that seems marvellous and 
extraordinary, have produced an infinite number of 
false histories on the subject we are now treating of 
There are here two dangers to avoid : a too great 
credulity, and an excessive difficulty in believing what 
is above the ordinary course of nature ; as likewise, we 
must not conclude what is general from what is par- 
ticular, or make a general case of a particular one, nor 
say that all is false because some stories are so ; also, 
Ave must not assert that such a particular history is a 
mere invention, because there are many stories of this 
latter kind. It is allowable to examine, prove, and 


select ; we must never form our judgment, but with 
knowledge of the case ; a story may be false in many 
of its circumstances, (as related,) but true in its 

The history of the deluge, and that of the passage 
across the Red sea, are certain in themselves, and in 
the simple and natural recital given of them by Moses. 
The profane historians, and some Hebrew writers, 
and even Christians, have added some embellishment 
which must militate against the story in itself. Jose- 
phus, the historian, has much embellished the history of 
Moses ; Christian authors have added much to that of 
Josephus ; the Mahometans have altered several points 
of the sacred history of the Old and New Testament. 
IMust we, on this account, consider these histories as 
problematical ? The life of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus 
is full of miracles, as are also those of St. Martin 
and St. Bernard ; St. Augustine relates several miracu- 
lous cures worked by the relics of St. Stephen. Many 
extraordinary things are related in the life of St. Am- 
brose. Why not give faith to them after the testimony 
of these great men, and that of their disciples, who had 
lived with them, and had been witnesses of a good part 
of what they relate ? 

It is not permitted us to dispute the truth of the 
apparitions noted in the Old and New Testament ; but 
we may be permitted to explain them. For instance, 
it is said that the Lord appeared to Abraham in the 
valley of Mamre ; ^ that he entered Abraham's tent, 
and that he promised him the birth of a son ; also, it 

* Gen. xviii.'lO. 


is allowed, that he received three angels, who went 
from thence to Soclom. St. Paul ^ notices it expressly 
in his Epistle to the Hebrews ; angelis Jiospitio receptis. 
It is also said, that the Lord appeared unto Moses, 
and gave him the law ; and St. Stephen, in the Acts,^ 
informs us, that it was an angel who spoke to him 
from the burning bush, and on Mount Horeb ; and 
St. Paul, writing to the Galatians, says, that the law 
was given by angels.*^ 

Sometimes, the name of angel of the Lord is taken 
for a prophet, a man filled with his Spirit, and deputed 
by him. It is certain, that the Hebrew malae and the 
Greek angelos, bear the same signification as our envoy. 
For instance, at the beginning of the Book of Judges,^ 
it is said, that there came an angel of the Lord from 
Gilgal to the place of tears, (or Bochim,) and that he 
there reproved the Israelites for their infidelity and 
ino;ratitude. The ablest commentators ^ think, that this 
angel of the Lord is no other than Phineas, or the then 
high priest, or rather a prophet, sent expressly to the 
people assembled at Gilgal. 

In the Scripture, the prophets are sometimes styled 
angels of the Lord.^ " Here is what saith the envoy 
of the Lord, amongst the envoys of the Lord," says 
Haggai, speaking of himself. 

The prophet Malachi, the last of the lesser prophets, 
says, that "the Lord will send his angel, who will 
prepare the way before his face." ^ This angel is 

b Heb. xiii. 2. -^ Acts vii. 30, 33. ^ Gal. iii. 

* Judges ii. 1. ' Vide commentar. in Judic. ii. 

? Hagg. i. 13. ^ Malac. iii. 1. 


St. John the Baptist, who prepares the way for Jesus 
Christ, who is himself styled the Angel of the Lord — 
"And soon the Lord whom ye demand, and the so 
much desired Angel of the Lord, will come into his 
temple." This same Saviour is designated by Moses 
under the name of a prophet:^ "The Lord will raise 
up in the midst of your nation, a prophet like myself." 
The name of angel is given to the prophet Nathan, 
who re^^roved David for his sin. I do not pretend, by 
these testimonies, to deny that the angels have often 
appeared to men ; but I infer from them, that some- 
times these angels were only prophets or other persons, 
raised up and sent by God to his people. 

As to apparitions of the demon, it is well to observe, 
that in Scripture the greater part of public calamities 
and maladies are attributed to evil spirits ; for example, 
it is said, that Satan inspired David ^ with the idea of 
numbering his people ; but in another place it is simply 
said, that the anger of the Lord was inflamed^ against 
Israel, and led David to cause his subjects to be num- 
bered. There are several other passages in the Holy 
Books, where they relate what the demon said and 
what he did, in a popular manner, by the figure termed 
prosopopoeia ; for instance, the conversation between 
Satan and the first woman,"^ and the discourse which 
the demon holds in company with the good angels 
before the Lord, when he talks to him of Job," and 
obtains permission to tempt and afflict him. In the 
New Testament, it appears that the Jews attributed to 

• Deut. xyiii. 18. ^ 1 Chron. xxi. 1. ' 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. 

" Gen. iii. 2, 3. ° Job i. 7—9. 


the malice of the demon and to his possession almost 
all the maladies with which they were afflicted. In 
St. Luke,° the woman who was bent and could not 
raise herself up, and had suffered this for eighteen 
years, "had," says the evangelist, "a spirit of in- 
firmity;" and Jesus Christ, after having healed her, 
says, " that Satan held her bound for eighteen years ;" 
and in another place it is said, that a lunatic or epileptic 
person was possessed by the demon. It is clear from 
what Is said by St. Matthew and St. Luke,? that he was 
attacked by epilepsy. The Saviour cured him of this 
evil malady, and by that means took from the demon 
the opportunity of tormenting him still more ; as David, 
by dissipating with the sound of his harp the sombre 
melancholy of Saul, delivered him from the evil spirit, 
who abused the power of those inclinations which he 
found In him, to awaken his jealousy against David. 
All this means, that we often ascribe to the demon 
things of which he is not guilty, and that we must not 
lightly adopt all the prejudices of the people, nor take 
literally all that is related of the works of Satan. 

" Luke xiii. 16. p Matt, xvii, 14. Luke ix. 37. 



In order to combat the apparitions of angels, demons, 
and disembodied souls, we still bring forward the effects 
of a prepossessed fancy, struck with an idea, and of a 
weak and timid mind, which imagine they see and hear 
what subsists only in idea ; we advert to the inventions 
of the malignant spirits, who like to make sport of and 
to delude us ; we call to our assistance the artifices of 
the charlatans, who do so many things which pass for 
supernatural in the eyes of the ignorant. Philosophers, 
by means of certain glasses, and what are called magic 
lanterns, by optical secrets, sympathetic powders, by 
their phosphorus, and lately by means of the electrical 
machine, show us an infinite number of things which 
the simpletons take for magic, because they know not 
how they are produced. 

Eyes that are diseased, do not see things as others 
see them, or else behold them differently. A drunken 
man will see objects double ; to one who has the jaun- 
dice, they will appear yellow ; in the obscurity, people 
fancy they see a spectre, when they see only the trunk 
of a tree. 


A mountebank will appear to eat a sword ; another 
will vomit coals or pebbles ; one will drink wine and 
send it out again at his forehead ; another will cut off 
his companion's head, and put it on again. You will 
think you see a chicken dragging a beam. The mounte- 
bank will swallow fire and vomit it forth, he w^ill draw 
blood from fruit, he will send from his mouth strings of 
iron nails, he will put a sword on his stomach and press 
it strongly, and instead of running into him, it will bend 
back to the hilt ; another will run a sword through his 
body w^ithout wounding himself; you will sometimes 
see a child without a head, then a head without a child, 
and all of them alive. That appears very wonderful ; 
nevertheless, if it were known how all those things are 
done, people would only laugh, and be surprised that 
they could w^onder at and admire such things. 

What has not been said for and against the divining- 
rod of Jacques Aimar? Scripture proves to us the 
antiquity of divination by the divining-rod, in the in- 
stance of Nebuchadnezzar,^ and in what is said of the 
prophet Hosea.^ Fable speaks of the wonders wrought 
by the golden rod of Mercury. The Gauls and Ger- 
mans also used the rod for divination; and there is 
reason to believe that often God permitted that the rods 
should make known by their movements what was to 
happen ; for that reason they were consulted. Every 
body knows the secret of Circe's wand, which changed 
men into beasts. I do not compare it with the rod 
of Moses, by means of which God worked so many 
miracles in Egypt ; but we may compare it with those 
• Ezck, xxi. 21. *• Hosca iv. 12. 


of the magicians of Pharaoh, which produced so many 
marvellous effects. 

Albertus Magnus relates, that tliere had been seen 
in Germany two brothers, one of whom passing near a 
door securely locked, and presenting his left side, would 
cause it to open of itself; the other brother had the 
same virtue in the right side. St. Augustine says, that 
there are men^ who move their two ears one after 
another, or both together, without moving their heads ; 
others, without moving it also, make all the skin of 
their head with the hair thereon come down over their 
forehead, and put it back as it was before ; some imitate 
so perfectly the voices of animals, that it is almost 
impossible not to mistake them. We have seen men 
speak from the hollow of the stomach, and make them- 
selves heard as if speaking from a distance, although 
they were close by. Others swallow an incredible 
quantity of different things, and by tightening their 
stomachs ever so little, throw up whole, as from a bag, 
whatever they please. Last year, in Alsatia, there was 
seen and heard a German who played on two French 
horns at once, and gave airs in two parts, the first and 
the second, at the same time. Who can explain to us 
the secret of intermitting fevers, of the flux and reflux 
of the sea, and the cause of many effects which are 
certainly all natural ? 

Galen relates,*^ that a physician named Theophilus, 
having fallen ill, fancied that he saw near his bed a great 
number of musicians, whose noise split his head, and 
augmented his illness. He cried out incessantly for 

« Aug. lib. xiv. de Civit. Dei, c. 24. ^ Galen, de Differ. Sympt. 


them to send those people away. Having recovered 
his health, and good sense, he perfectly well remem- 
bered all that had been said to him, but he could not 
get those players on musical instruments out of his 
head, and he affirmed that they tired him to death. 

In 1629, Desbordes, valet-de-chambre of Charles IV., 
Duke of Lorraine, was accused of having hastened the 
death of the Princess Christina of Salms, wife of Duke 
Francis IL, and mother of the Duke Charles IV., and 
of having inflicted maladies on different persons, v/hich 
maladies the doctors attributed to evil spells. Charles IV. 
had conceived violent suspicions against Desbordes, 
since one day when in a hunting-party this valet-de- 
chambre had served a grand dinner to the Duke and his 
company, without any other preparation than having to 
open a box with three shelves ; and to wind up the 
v/onders, he had ordered three robbers, who were dead 
and hung to a gibbet, to come down from it, and come 
and make their bow to the Duke, and then to go back 
and resume their place at the gallows. It was said, 
moreover, that on another occasion he had commanded 
the personages in a piece of tapestry to detach them- 
selves from it, and to come and present themselves in 
the middle of the room. 

Charles IV. was not very credulous ; nevertheless, he 
allowed Desbordes to be tried. He was, it is said, con- 
victed of magic, and condemned to the flames; but 
I have since been assured^ that he made his escape, 
and some years after, on presenting himself before the 
Duke, and clearing himself, he demanded the restitu- 
« By M, Fransquin Chanoine dc Taul. 



tion of his property, which had been confiscated ; but 
he recovered only a very small part of it. Since the 
adventure of Desbordes, the partisans of Charles IV. 
wished to cast a doubt on the validity of the baptism of . 
the Duchess Nichola, his wife, because she had been 
baptized by Lavallee, Chantre de St. George, a friend 
of Desbordes, and like him convicted of several crimes, 
which drew upon him similar condemnation. From a 
doubt of the baptism of the duchess, they wished to 
infer the invalidity of her marriage with Charles, which 
was then the grand business of Charles lY. 

Father Delrio, a Jesuit, says that the magician called 
Trois-Echelles, by his enchantments, detached in the 
presence of King Charles IX. the rings or links of a 
collar of the Order of the King, worn by some knights 
who were at a great distance from him ; he made them 
come into his hand, and after that replaced them, with- 
out the collar appearing deranged. 

John Faust Cudlingen, a German, was requested, in 
a company of gay people, to perform in their presence 
some tricks of his trade ; he promised to show them a 
vine loaded with grapes, ripe and ready to gather. 
They thought, as it was then the month of December, 
he could not execute his promise. He strongly recom- 
mended them not to stir from their places, and not to 
lift up their hands to cut the grapes, unless by his ex- 
press order. The vine appeared directly, covered with 
leaves and loaded with grapes, to the great astonishment 
of all present ; every one took up his knife, awaiting 
the order of Cudlingen to cut some grapes ; but after 
having kept them for some time in that expectation, he 


suddenly caused the vine and the grapes to disappear ; 
then every one found himself armed with his knife, and 
holding his neighbour's nose with one hand, so that if 
they had cut off a bunch without the order of Cudlingen, 
they would have cut off one another's noses. 

We have seen in these parts a horse which appeared 
gifted with wit and discernment, and to understand 
what his master said. All the secret consisted in the 
horse's having been taught to observe certain motions 
of his master ; and from these motions he was led to do 
certain things to which he was accustomed, and to go 
to certain persons, which he would never have done, 
but for the sign or motion which he saw his master 

A hundred other similar facts might be cited, which 
might pass for magical operations, if we did not know 
that they are simple contrivances and tricks of art, per- 
formed by persons well exercised in such things. It 
may be that sometimes people have ascribed to magic 
and the evil spirit operations like those we have just 
related, and that what have been taken for the spirits 
of deceased persons, were often arranged on purpose 
by young people to frighten passers-by. They will 
cover themselves with white or black, and show them- 
selves in a cemetery in the posture of persons requesting 
prayers ; after that they will be the first to exclaim 
that they have seen a spirit: at other times it will 
be pick-pockets, or young men, who will hide their 
amorous intrigues, or their thefts and knavish tricks, 
under this disguise. 

Sometimes a widow, or heirs, from interested motives. 


win publicly declare that the deceased husband appears 
in his house, and is in torment ; that he has asked or 
commanded such and such things, or such and such 
restitutions. I own that this may happen, and does 
happen sometimes; but it does not follow that spirits 
never return. The return of souls is infinitely more 
rare than the common people believe ; I say the same 
of pretended magical operations and apparitions of the 

It is remarked that the greater the ignorance which 
prevails in a country, the more superstition reigns there; 
and that the spirit of darkness there exercises greater 
power, in proportion as the nations are plunged in 
irregularity, and into deeper moral darkness. Louis 
Vivez^ testifies, that in the newly-discovered countries 
in America, nothing is more common than to see spirits 
which appear at noonday, not only in the country, but 
in towns and villages, speaking, commanding, some- 
times even striking men. Olaiis Magnus, Archbishop 
of Upsal, who has written on the antiquities of the 
northern nations, observes, that in Sweden, Norway, 
Finland, Finmark, and Lapland, they frequently see 
spectres or spirits, which do many wonderful things ; 
that there are even some amongst them who serve as 
domestics to men, and take the horses and other cattle 
to pasture. 

The Laplanders even at this day, as well those who 
have remained in idolatry as those who have em- 
braced Christianity, believe the apparition of the manes 
or ghosts, and offer them a kind of sacrifice. I believe 
^ Ludov. Yives, lib. i. de Veritate Fidei, p. 540. 


that prepossession, and the prejudices of childhood, have 
much more to do with this belief than reason and ex- 
perience. In effect, among the Tartars, where bar- 
barism and ignorance reign as much as in any country 
in the world, they talk neither of spirits nor of appari- 
tions, no more than among the Mahometans, although 
they admit the apparitions of angels made to Abraham 
and the patriarchs, and that of the Archangel Gabriel 
to Mahomet himself. 

The Abyssinians, a very rude and ignorant people, 
believe neither in sorcerers, nor spells, nor magicians ; 
they say that it is giving too much power to the demon, 
and by that they fall into the error of the Manichseans, 
who admit two Principles, the one of good, which Is 
God, and the other of evil, which is the devil. The 
Minister Becker, in his work entitled " The Enchanted 
World," (Le Monde Enchante,) laughs at apparitions 
of spirits and evil angels, and ridicules all that is said 
of the effects of mamc : he maintains that to believe in 
magic is contrary to Scripture and religion. 

But whence comes it, then, that the Scriptures for- 
bid us to consult magicians, and that they make mention 
of Simon the magician, of Ely mas, another magician, 
and of the works of Satan ? What will become of the 
apparitions of angels, so well noted in the Old and New 
Testaments ? What will become of the apparitions of 
Onias to Judas Maccabeus, and of the devil to Jesus 
Christ himself, after his fast of forty days ? What will 
be said of the apparition of Moses at the Transfigura- 
tion of the Saviour ; and an infinity of other appear- 
ances made to all kinds of persons, and related by wise, 


grave, and enlightened authors? Are the apparitions 
of devils and spirits more difficult to explain and con- 
ceive than those of angels, which we cannot rationally 
dispute without overthrowing the entire Scriptures, and 
practices and belief of the Churches ? 

Does not the Apostle tell us, that the angel of dark- 
ness transforms himself into an angel of light ? Is not 
the absolute renunciation of all belief in apparitions 
assaulting Christianity in its most sacred authority, in 
the belief of another life, of a Church still subsisting 
in another world, of rewards for good actions, and of 
punishments for bad ones; the utility- of prayers for the 
dead, and the efficacy of exorcisms ? We must then 
in these matters keep the medium between excessive 
credulity and extreme incredulity ; we must be prudent, 
moderate and enlightened ; we must, according to the 
advice of St. Paul, test everything, examine every- 
thing, yield only to evidence and known truth. 




It is possible to allege against my reasoning the 
secrets of physics and chemistry, which produce an 
infinity of wonderful effects, and appear beyond the 
power of natural agency. We have the composition 
of a phosphorus, with which they write ; the characters 
do not appear by daylight, but in the dark we see them 
shine; with this phosphorus figures can be traced 
which would surprise and even alarm during the night, 
as has been done more than once, apparently to cause 
maliciously useless fright. La poiidre ardente is 
another phosphorus, which, provided it is exposed to 
the air, sheds a light both by night and by day. How 
many people have been frightened by those little 
worms which are found in certain kinds of rotten wood, 
and which give a brilhant flame by night. 

We have the daily experience of an infinite number 
of things, all of them natural, which appear above the 
ordinary course of nature,^ but which have nothing 
miraculous in them, and ought not to be attributed to 
angels or demons ; for instance, teeth and noses taken 
from other persons, and applied to those who have 
" M. de S. Andre, Lett. iii. sur les Mal^fices. 


lost similar parts ; of this we find many instances in 
authors. These teeth and noses fall off directly the 
person from whom they were taken dies, however great 
the distance between these two persons may be. 

The presentiments experienced by certain persons of 
what happens to their relations and friends, and even of 
their own death, are not at all miraculous. There are 
many instances of persons who are in the habit of 
feeling these presentiments, and who in the night, even 
when asleep, will say that such a thing has happened, 
or is about to happen; that such messengers are 
coming, and will announce to them such and such 

There are dogs that have the sense of smelling so 
keen, that they scent from a good distance the approach 
of any person who has done them good or harm. This 
lias been proved many times, and can only proceed 
from the diversity of organs in those animals, some of 
which have the scent much keener than others, and 
upon which the spirits which exhale from other bodies 
act more quickly and at a greater distance than in 
others. Certain persons have such an acute sense of 
hearing, that they can hear what is whispered even in 
another chamber, of which the door is well closed. 
They cite as an example of this, a certain Marie Bu- 
caille, to whom it was thought that her guardian angel 
discovered what was said at a great distance from her. 

Others have the smell so keen that they distinguish 
by the odour all the men and animals they have ever 
seen, and scent their approach a long way off. Blind 
persons pretty often possess this faculty as well as that 


of discerning the colour of different stuffs by the touch, 
from horsehair to playing-cards. 

Others discern by the taste everything that composes 
a ragout, better than the most expert cook could do. 
Others possess so piercing a sight that at the first 
glance they can distinguish the most confused and 
distant objects, and remark the least change which 
takes place in them. 

There are both men and women w4io, without in- 
tending to hurt, do a great deal of harm to children, 
and all the tender and delicate animals which they look 
at attentively, or which they touch. This happens 
particular!}?- in hot countries ; and many examples might 
be cited of it ; from which arises what both ancients 
and moderns call fascination (or the evil eye) ; hence 
the precautions which were taken against these effects 
by amulets and preservatives which were suspended to 
children's necks. 

There have been known to be men from whose eyes 
there proceeded such venomous spirits that they did 
harm to every body or thing they looked at, even to 
the breasts of nurses, which they caused to dry up, — 
to plants, flowers, the leaves of trees, which were seen 
to wither and fall off. They dare not enter any place 
till they had warned the people beforehand to send 
away the children and nurses, new-born animals, and, 
generally speaking, every thing which they could infect 
by their breath or their looks. 

We should laugh, and with reason, at those, who, to 
explain all these singular effects, should have recourse 
to charms, spells, to the operations of demons, or of 


good angels. The evaporation of corpuscles, or atoms, 
or the insensible perspiration of the bodies which pro- 
duce all these effects, suffices to account for it. We have 
recourse neither to miracles, nor to superior causes, 
above all when these effects are produced at once, and 
at a short distance ; but when the distance is great, 
the exhalation of the spirits, or essence, and of insen- 
sible corpuscles, does not equally satisfy us any more 
than when we meet with things and effects which go 
beyond the known force of nature, such as foretelling 
future events, speaking unknown languages, i, e. lan- 
guages unknown to the speaker, to be in such ecstasy 
that the person is beyond earthly feeling, to rise up 
from the ground, and remain so a long time. 

The chemists demonstrate that the palingenesis, or 
a sort of restoration or resurrection of animals, insects, 
and plants, is possible and natural. AVhen the ashes 
of a plant are placed in a phial, these ashes rise, and 
arrange themselves as much as they can in the form 
which was first impressed on them by the Author of 

Father Schol, a Jesuit, affirms that he has often seen 
a rose which was made to arise from its ashes every time 
they wished to see it done, by means of a little heat. 

The secret of a mineral water has been found by 
means of wliich a dead plant which has its root can be 
made green again, and brought to the same state as if 
it were growing in the ground. Digby asserts that 
he has drawn from dead animals, which were beaten 
and bruised in a mortar, the representation of these 
animals, or other animals of the same species. 

VOL. I. R 


Ducliesne, a famous chemist, relates that a physician 
of Cracow preserved in phials the ashes of almost every 
kind of plant, so that when any one from curiosity 
desired to see, for instance, a rose in these phials, he 
took that in which the ashes of the rose-bush were pre- 
served, and placing it over a lighted candle, as soon as 
it felt a little warmth, they saw the ashes stir and rise 
like a little dark cloud, and, after some movements, 
they represented a rose as beautiful and fresh as if 
newly gathered from the rose-tree. 

Gaffard assures us that M. de Cleves, a celebrated 
chemist, showed every day plants drawn from their 
own ashes. David Vanderbroch affirms that the blood 
of animals contains the idea of their species, as well as 
their seed; he relates on this subject the experiment 
of M. Borelli, who asserts, that the human blood, when 
warm, is still full of its spirits or sulphurs, acid and 
volatile, and that being excited in cemeteries, and in 
places where great battles are fought, by some heat 
in the ground, the phantoms or ideas of the persons 
who are there interred are seen to rise ; that we should 
see them as well by day as by night, were it not for 
the excess of light which prevents us even from seeing 
the stars. He adds, that by this means we might 
behold the idea, and represent by a lawful and natural 
necromancy the figure or phantom of all the great men 
of antiquity, our friends and our ancestors, provided 
we possess their ashes. 

These are the most plausible objections intended to 
destroy or obviate all that is said of the apparitions 
of spirits. Whence some conclude that these are either 


very natural phenomena and exhalations produced by 
the heat of the earth imbued with blood and the volatile 
spirit of the dead, above all, those dead by violence ; 
or that they are the consequences of a stricken and 
prepossessed fancy, or simply illusions of the mind^ 
or sports of persons who like to divert themselves by 
the panics into which they terrify others; or, lastly, 
movements produced naturally by men, rats, monkeys, 
and other animals ; for it is true that the oftener we 
examine into what have been taken for apparitions, 
the more satisfied must we be that nothing is found 
real, extraordinary, or supernatural; but to conclude 
from hence that all the apparitions and operations 
attributed to angels, spirits or souls, and demons, are 
chimerical, is carrying things to excess ; it is to con- 
clude that we mistake always, because we mistake 
often. < 




After having made this exposition of my opinion 
concerning the apparitions of angels, demons, souls of 
the dead, and even of one living person to another, and 
having spoken of magic, of oracles, of obsessions and 
possessions of the demon; of sprites and familiar spirits; 
of sorcerers and witches ; of spectres which predict the 
future ; of those which haunt houses, — after having 
stated the objections which are made against appari- 
tions, and having replied to them in as weighty a man- 
ner as I possibly could, I think I may conclude that 
although this matter labours still under very great dif- 
ficulties, as much respecting the foundation of the 
thing, — I mean as regards the truth and reality of ap- 
paritions in general, — as for the way in which they are 
made, still we cannot reasonably disallow that there 
may be true apparitions of all the kinds of which we 
have spoken, and that there may be also a great number 
very disputable, and some others which are manifestly 
the work of knavery, of maliciousness, of the art of 
charlatans, and flexibility of those who play sleight of 
hand tricks. 

I acknowledge, moreover, that imagination, prepos- 


session, simplicity, superstition, excess of credulity, 
and weakness of mind have given rise to many stories 
which are related ; that ignorance of pure philosophy 
has caused to be taken for miraculous effects, and un- 
lawful magic, what Is the simple effect of natural magic, 
or the secrets of a philosophy hidden from the ignorant 
and common herd of men. Moreover, I confess that I 
see insurmountable difficulties in explaining the man- 
ner or properties of apparitions, whether we admit with 
several ancients that angels, demons and disembodied 
souls have a sort of subtile transparent body of the 
nature of air, whether we believe them purely spi- 
ritual and disengaged from all matter, visible, gross, or 

I lay down as a principle that to explain the philo- 
sophy of apparitions, and to give on this subject any 
certain rules, we should, — 

1st. Know perfectly the nature of spirits, angels 
and souls, and demons. We should know whether 
souls by nature are so spiritualized that they have no 
longer any relation to matter ; or if they have, again, 
any alliance with an aerial, subtile, invisible body, which 
they still govern after death ; or whether they exert 
any power over the body they once animated, to impel 
it to certain movements, as the soul which animates us 
gives to our bodies such impulsions as she thinks proper ; 
or whether the soul, as occasional or secondary cause, 
determines simply by Its will, the first cause which is 
God, to put in motion the machine which it once 

2d. If after death the soul still retains that power 


over its own body, or over others ; for instance, over the 
air and other elements. 

3d. If angels and demons have respectively the same 
power over sublunary bodies, — for instance, to thicken 
air, inflame it, produce in it clouds and storms; to make 
phantoms appear in it ; to spoil or preserve fruits and 
crops ; to cause animals to perish, produce maladies, 
excite tempests and shipwrecks at sea ; or even to fas- 
cinate the eyes and deceive the other senses. 

4th. If they can do all these things naturally, and by 
their own virtue, as often as they think proper ; or if 
there must be a particular order, or at least permis- 
sion from God, for them to do what we have just 

5th. And, lastly, we should know exactly what power 
is possessed by these substances which we suppose to be 
purely spiritual, and how far the power of the angels, 
demons, and souls separated from their gross bodies, 
extends, in regard to the apparitions, operations and 
movements attributed to them. For whilst we are 
ignorant of the power which the Creator has given or 
left to disembodied souls, or to demons, we can in no 
w^ay define what is miraculous, or prescribe the just 
bound to which may extend, or within which may be 
limited, the natural operations of spirits, angels and 

If we accord the demon the faculty of fascinating 
our eyes when it pleases him, or of disposing the air so 
as to form the appearance of a phantom, or phenome- 
non ; or of restoring movement to a body which is 
dead but not entirely corrupted ; or of disturbing the 


living by ill dreams, or terrific representations, — we 
should no longer wonder at many things which astonish 
us at present, nor regard as miracles certain cures and 
certain apparitions, if they are only the natural effects 
of the power of souls, angels and demons. 

If a man invested with his body produced such 
effects of himself, we should say with reason that they 
are supernatural operations, because they exceed the 
known ordinary and natural power of the living man ; 
but if a man held commerce with a spirit, an angel, 
or a demon, whom by virtue of some compact, explicit 
or implicit, he commanded to perform certain things 
which would be above his natural powers, but not 
beyond the powers of the spirit whom he commanded, 
would the effect resulting from it be miraculous or 
supernatural ? No, without doubt, supposing that the 
spirit which produced the result did nothing that was 
above his natural powers and faculties. 

But would It be a miracle if a man had anything: to 
do with an angel or a demon, and that he should make 
an explicit and Implicit compact with them, to oblige 
them on certain conditions, and with certain cere- 
monies, to produce effects which would appear exter- 
nally, and in our minds, to be beyond the power of 
man? For instance, in the operations of certain magi- 
cians who boast of having an explicit compact with the 
devil, and who by this means raise tempests, or go with 
extraordinary haste when they walk, or cause the death 
of animals, and to men incurable maladies; or who 
enchant arms; or in other operations, as in the use of the 


divining rod, and in certain remedies against the mala- 
dies of men and horses, which having no natural propor- 
tion to these maladies do not fail to cure them, although 
those who use these remedies protest that they have 
never thought of contracting any alliance with the 

To reply to this question, the difficulty always recurs 
to know if there is between living and mortal man 
a proportion or natural relation, which renders him 
capable of contracting an alliance with the angel or 
the demon, by virtue of which these spirits obey him, 
and exert, under his empire, by virtue of the preceding 
compact, a power which is natural to them ; for if there 
is nothing beyond the ordinary force of nature, either 
on the side of man, or on that of angels and demons, 
there is nothinsr miraculous in one or the other : neither 
is there in God's permitting secondary causes to act 
according to their natural faculties, of which he is 
nevertheless always the principle, and the absolute 
master, to limit, stop, suspend, extend, or augment 
them, according to his good pleasure. 

But as we know not, and it seems even impossible 
that we should know by the light of reason, the nature 
and extent of the power of angels, demons, and disem- 
bodied souls, it seems that it would be rash to decide 
in this matter, as we derive consequences from causes 
by their effects, or effects by causes. For instance, to 
say that souls, demons, and angels have sometimes ap- 
peared to men — then they have naturally the faculty of 
returning and appearing, is a bold and rash proposition. 


For it is very possible that angels and demons appear 
only by the particular will of God, and not in conse- 
quence of his general will, and by virtue of his natural 
and physical concurrence with his creatures. 

In the first case, these apparitions are miraculous, as 
being above the natural power of the agents in ques- 
tion ; in the second case, there is nothing supernatural 
in them except the permission (which God rarely grants) 
to souls to return, to angels and demons to appear, and 
to produce the effects of which we have spoken. 

According to these principles we may advance with* 
out temerity — • 

1st. That angels and demons have often appeared unto 
men, that souls separated from the body have often 
returned, and that both the one and the other may do 
the same thino* as^ain. 

2d. That the manner of these apparitions, and of these 
returns to earth, is perfectly unknown, nor given up by 
God to the discussions and researches of mankind. 

3d. That there is some likelihood that these kinds of 
apparitions are not absolutely miraculous on the part of 
the good and evil angels, but that God allows them 
sometimes to take place, for reasons the knowledge of 
which is reserved to himself alone. 

4th. That no certain rule on this point can be given, 
nor any demonstrative argument formed, for want 
of knowing perfectly the nature and extent of the 
power of the spiritual beings in question. 

5th. That we should reason upon those apparitions 
which appear in dreams otherwise than upon those 



which appear when we are awake ; differently also upon 
apparitions wearing solid bodies, speaking, walking, 
eating, and drinking, and those which seem like a 
shade, or a nebulous and aerial body. 

6th. Thus it would be rash to lay down principles, 
and raise uniform aro:uments, on all these things in 
common, every species of apparition demanding its own 
particular explanation. 



There have been real apparitions in dreams ; as for 
instance, that of the angel,^ who told St. Joseph to 
carry the infant Jesus into Egypt because king Herod 
wished to put him to death. There are two things 
appertaining to this apparition worthy of note : the 
first is, the impression made on the mind of St. Joseph 
that an angel appeared to him ; the second is, the pre- 
diction or revelation of the ill-will of Herod. Both 
these are above the oi"dinary powers of our nature, but 
we know not if they be above the power of angels : it 
is certain that it could not have been done except by 
the will and command of God. 

There have been apparitions of a spirit, or of an angel 
and a demon, which show themselves clothed in an ap- 
parent body, and only as a shadow or a phantom, as that 
of the angel who showed himself to Manoah the father 
of Samson, and vanished with the smoke of the sacrifice ; 
and of him who extricated St. Peter from prison, and 
disappeared in the same way after having conducted 
him the length of a street. The bodies which these 
angels assumed, and which we suppose to have been 
only apparent and aerial, present" great difficulties ; for 
» Matt. ii. 13, 14. 


either those bodies were their own, or they were 
assumed or borrowed. 

If those forms were their own, and we suppose, with 
several ancient and some new writers, that angels, 
demons, and even human souls have a kind of subtile, 
transparent, and aerial body, the diflSculty lies in 
knowing how they can condense the transparent body, 
and render it visible when it was before invisible ; for 
if it were always and naturally evident to the senses and 
visible, there would be another kind of continual 
miracle to render it invisible, and hide it from our 
sight ; and if of its nature it is invisible, what might 
can render it visible ? On whatever side we regard 
this object it seems equally miraculous, whether to 
make evident to the senses that which is purely spiri- 
tual, or to render invisible that which in its nature is 
palpable and corporeal. 

The ancient fathers of the Church, who gave to 
angels subtile bodies of an airy nature, explained, 
according to their principles, more easily the predictions 
made by the demons, and the wonderful operations 
which they cause in the air, in the elements, in our 
bodies, and which are far beyond what the ablest and 
the most learned men can know, predict, and per- 
form. They likewise conceived more easily that evil 
angels can cause maladies, render the air impure and 
contagious, that they inspire the wicked with wrong 
thoughts and unjust desires, that they can penetrate 
our thoughts and our wishes, that they foresee tempests 
and changes in the air, and derangements of the 
seasons ; all which can be explained with much more 


facility on the hypothesis that demons have bodies com- 
posed of very fine and subtile air. 

St. Augustine '^ had written that they could also 
discover what is passing in our mind, and at the bottom 
of our heart, not only by our words, but also by certain 
signs and movements, which escape from the most 
circumspect ; but reflecting on what he had advanced 
in this passage, he retracted, and owned that he had 
spoken too affirmatively upon a subject but little known, 
and that the manner in which the evil angels penetrate 
our thoughts is a very hidden thing, and very difficult 
for men. to discover and explain ; thus he preferred 
suspending his judgment upon it, and remaining in 

'' S. Aug. lib. ii. Retract, c. 30. 



The difficulty is much greater, if we suppose that these 
spirits are absolutely disengaged from any kind of 
matter ; for how can they assemble about them a certain 
quantity of matter, clothe themselves with it, give it 
a human form, which can be discerned, is capable of 
acting, speaking, conversing, eating and drinking, as 
did the angels who appeared to Abraham,^ and the one 
who appeared to the young Tobias,'* and conducted him 
to Rages? Is all that accomplished by the natural 
power of these spirits ? Has God bestowed on them 
this power in creating them, and has he engaged him- 
self, by virtue of his natural laws, and by a consequence 
of his acting intimately and essentially on the creature, 
in his quality of Creator, to impress on occasion, at the 
will of these spirits, certain motions in the air, and in 
the bodies which they would move, condense, and cause 
to act, in the same manner proportionally that he has 
willed by virtue of the uqion of the soul with a living 
body, that that soul should impress on that body 
motions proportioned to its own will, althougli, natu- 
" Gen. xviii. '' Tob. xii. 19. 


rally, there Is no natural proportion between matter 
and spirit, and, according to the laws of physics, the one 
cannot act npon the other, unless the First Cause, the 
Creator, has chosen to subject himself to create this 
movement and to produce these effects at the will of 
man, movements which without that would pass for 
superhuman, (supernatural.) 

Or shall we say with some modern philosophers,*' that 
although we may have Ideas of matter and thought, 
perhaps we shall never be capable of knowing whether 
a being purely material thinks or not, because It Is 
Impossible for us to discover by the contemplative powers 
of our own minds without revelation, whether God has 
not given to some collections of matter, disposed as he 
thinks proper, the power to perceive and to think, or 
whether he has joined and united to the matter thus 
arranged, an Immaterial substance which thinks ? Now 
in relation to our notions. It is not less easy for us to 
conceive that God can add to our Idea of matter the 
faculty of thinking, since we know not In what thought 
consists, and to what species of substance that Almighty 
being has judged proper to grant this faculty, which 
could exist In no created being except by virtue of the 
goodness and the will of the Creator. 

This system certainly embraces great absurdities, 
and greater to my mind than those it would fain avoid. 
We conceive clearly that matter Is divisible, and capable 
of motion ; but we do not conceive that It Is capable of 
thought, nor that thought can consist of a certain confi- 
guration or a certain motion of matter. And even 
•-■ Locke on the Human Understanding, book iv. c. 3. 


could thought depend on an arrangement, or on a certain 
subtility, or on a certain motion of matter, as soon as 
that arrangement should be disturbed, or the motion 
interrupted, or this heap of subtile matter dispersed, 
thought would cease to be produced, and consequently 
that which constitutes man, or the reasoning animal, 
would no longer subsist ; thus all the economy of our 
religion, all our hopes of a future life, all our fears of 
eternal punishment would vanish ; even the principles 
of our philosophy would be overthrown. 

God forbid that we should wish to set bounds to the 
almighty power of God ; but that all-powerful Being 
having given us as a rule of our knowledge the clear- 
ness of the ideas Avhich we form of everything, and not 
being permitted to affirm that which we know but 
indistinctly, it follows that we ought not to assert that 
thouo;ht can be attributed to matter. If the tliino- were 
known to us throuo:h revelation, and taug-ht bv the 
authority of the Scriptures, then we might impose 
silence on human reason, and make captive our judg- 
ment in obedience to faith ; but it is owned that the 
thing is not at all revealed ; neither is it demonstrated, 
either by its cause, or by its eifects. It must, then, be 
considered as a simple system, invented to do away 
certain difficulties which result from the opinion opposed 
to it. 

If the difficulty of explaining how the soul acts upon 
our bodies appears so great, how can we comprehend 
that the soul itself should be material and extended ? 
In the latter case will it act upon itself, and give itself 
the impulsion to think, or will this movement or impul- 


slon be thought itself, or will it produce thought? Will 
this thinking matter think on always, or only at times ; 
and when it has ceased to think, who will make it think 
anew? Will it be God, will it be itself? Can so 
simple an agent as the soul act upon itself, and repro- 
duce itself in some sort by thinking, after it has ceased 
to think? 

My reader will say that I leave him here embarrassed, 
and that instead of giving him any light on the subject 
of the apparition of spirits, I cast doubt and uncer- 
tainty on the subject, I own it ; but I better like to 
doubt prudently, than to affirm that which I know not. 
And if I hold by what my religion teaches me con- 
cerning the nature of souls, angels, and demons, I shall 
say that being purely spiritual, it is impossible that 
they should appear clothed with a body except througli 
a miracle ; always supposing that God has not created 
them naturally capable of these operations, with subordi- 
nation to his sovereignly powerful will, which but rarely 
allows them to use this faculty of showing themselves 
corporeally to mortals. 

If sometimes angels have eaten, spoken, acted, 
walked, like men, it was not from any need they had 
to drink or eat to sustain themselves and to be able to 
live, but to execute the designs of God, whose will it 
was that they should appear to men acting, drinking, 
and eating, as the angel Raphael observes,'^ — ^^Wlien 
I was staying with you, I was there by the will of 
God ; I seemed to you to eat and drink, but for my 

^ Tob. xii. 18, 19. 


part I make use of an invisible nourishment which is 
unknown to men." 

It is true that we know not what may be the food of 
angels who are substances which are purely spiritual, 
nor what became of that food which Raphael and the 
angels that Abraham entertained in his tent, took, or 
seemed to take, in the company of men. But there are 
so many other things in nature which are unknown and 
incomprehensible to us, that we may very well console 
ourselves for not knowing how it is that the apparitions 
of angels, demons, and disembodied souls are made to 







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